Paul Omodei

Paul Omodei


    Shopping centre wins the top access award

    28/11/2000 11:36 AM

    A major Perth shopping centre has taken out a prestigious disability access award, signalling a growing awareness in the business sector of the needs of customers with disabilities.

    ShopMobility, a program run by Garden City Shopping Centre was awarded the 2000 Dr Louisa Alessandri Award for Excellence in Action on Access for responding to the needs of customers with disabilities.

    Garden City’s success was announced at the Disability Services Commission’s annual Action on Access awards today.

    ShopMobility provides electric scooters, manual wheelchairs and other aids to customers who have limited mobility to make shopping at the centre more comfortable and pleasurable.

    Disability Services Minister Paul Omodei said the Action on Access Awards acknowledged access improvements and encouraged the community to do more to include people with disabilities.

    “Disability touches the lives of more than half a million Western Australians - or one in three of the population - and access barriers effectively exclude people with disabilities and their families and friends from choices and opportunities the rest of us take for granted,” Mr Omodei said.

    “In this day and age, it is unacceptable that a person who uses a wheelchair is unable to enter a building because of restrictive design, or a person who is blind is unable to access the information they need in alternative formats.

    “Access improvement is an area where the whole community can make a difference towards full community participation for people with disabilities.”

    Mr Omodei said State Government agencies and local governments had led the community in access improvements through the development and implementation of Disability Service Plans.

    He said it was significant that the major award had gone to the private sector which was not obliged under law to ensure its services and facilities were accessible.

    “The business community is to be congratulated for the way it is responding to the needs of customers with disabilities,” the Minister said.

    “Customers with disabilities are customers first, people with money to spend, and the businesses which adapt their services to the needs of this important niche market will benefit from their loyalty and spending power.”

    The winners of the 2000 awards are:

    Action on Access in Local Government:
    • the Shire of Dardanup won the award for a small authority for access improvements to buildings and pathways throughout the shire, including brailled signs, audio-loop, accessible toilets and parking. The shire was also recognised for its response on behalf of a resident with disabilities by installing a pathway and accessible grill to allow safe access to local shops; and -
    • the City of Canning, a long-time supporter of access issues, won the award for a large authority for its access programs for young people with disabilities including access at the new Willetton Skate Park for sports wheelchairs and a range of initiatives designed to improve access to the natural environment.

    Action on Access in State Government:
    • the Curriculum Council won the award for a small organisation for its efforts to provide flexible options to assist students with disabilities when taking their Tertiary Entrance Examinations; and -
    • Transport won the award for a large organisation for a wide range of access improvements including accessible buses, ferries and taxis, signage in alternative formats and for working with other agencies and organisations to integrate access in developments.

    Action on Access in the Private Sector:
    • the Augusta Sheaoak Chalets received a certificate of commendation for incorporating the needs of customers with disabilities in the design stage of one of the South-West’s finest galleries and accommodation complex;
    • the Ningaloo Coral Explorer II won the award for a small business for providing an accessible bus to take visitors with disabilities to an accessible glass-bottom boat. These innovations will soon be complemented by beach matting and a waterproof wheelchair.
    • the West Australian Football Commission received a certificate of commendation for the many access improvements it has developed and implemented during the upgrading of Subiaco Oval; and -
    • Garden City Shopping Centre’s ShopMobility initiative won the award for a large business for providing scooters, wheelchairs and other aids for customers with limited mobility to make the shopping experience more comfortable and pleasurable.

    Disability Action by an Individual:
    • this was presented by the advocacy organisation People With Disabilities to Mr Arnold Budd of Geraldton for his many years of advocacy and raising community awareness of the access needs of people with disabilities in the Midwest/Gascoyne region.

    Action on Access: Making a difference to everyday life:
    • a certificate of commendation was awarded to Arena Joondalup for its Life Improvement for Everyone (LIFE) health lifestyle program for people with disabilities and for creating universal access to the complex by removing physical barriers and installing equipment people with disabilities can use; and -
    • the award was presented to Fisheries Western Australia for its fishing workshops for people with disabilities, including the development of specialised equipment that allows people with severe disabilities to fish virtually unaided.

    All category winners were eligible for the Dr Louisa Alessandri Award, named in honour of the late Dr Alessandri, a strong access advocate, who was Chair of the Western Australian Advisory Council for Disability Services and a board member of the Disability Services Commission

    Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700