Perth people with disabilities will be able to do their Christmas shopping tonight without the crush of festive season crowds, thanks to special exclusive trading hours.
Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper today commended several major Perth suburban stores and shopping centres, and Consumer Affairs Minister Yvonne Henderson, for agreeing to the special arrangements.
Mr Ripper said Mrs Henderson had agreed to requests for a special two hours (between 6 pm and 8 pm) extra trading tonight, exclusively for people with disabilities, from Carousel and Karrinyup Shopping Centres, K Mart in Morley and Kardinya, and Myer in Fremantle.
The special shopping hours dovetailed well with the Bureau for Disability Services' 'Finding Better Ways' public information and action campaign, which was working to improve community consideration of the needs and rights of Western Australians with disabilities.
"These two hours of stress-free shopping will mean a lot to people in wheelchairs and with mobility difficulties, who would otherwise feel daunted by the prospect of competing with the usual Christmas crowds," Mr Ripper said.
"This special opening is a good example of practical help for people with disabilities to enjoy what members of the general community take for granted."
The Minister said the stores would benefit from extra trade, and the people with disabilities would appreciate this special effort and opportunity.
"There is a message in this initiative for the whole business community, because an estimated one in eight of this State's population (about 191,000 people) has some form of disability.
"Nevertheless, they are still consumers, with the same needs and wants as everyone else with disposable income and are a relatively untapped market."