Dubbo's Disability Inclusion Technical Panel announced by Dubbo Regional Council

BIG GOAL: Mayor Ben Shields wants to make life easier for disabled residents. Photo: ORLANDER RUMING
BIG GOAL: Mayor Ben Shields wants to make life easier for disabled residents. Photo: ORLANDER RUMING

Seven community representatives have been chosen to help make Dubbo the most disability-friendly city in Australia.

In April, Dubbo Regional Council decided to create a Disability Inclusion Technical Panel. The panel’s role is to provide advice for council on areas in the region which need to be upgraded to meet modern accessible standards.

While initially there were supposed to be five members on the panel it was increased to seven, following a high number of applicants.

The panel is comprised of: Gavin Stait, Michael Langley, Michelle Thompson, Cassie Gardener, John Gleeson, Donna Flack and Cody Jones. Wendy Carpenter and Paul Hausia have been chosen as the alternative community representatives on the panel.

Mayor Ben Shields said he wanted Dubbo to be the most disability-inclusive city in Australia.

“The number of applicants we have had has been outstanding. It’s amazing to know there are so many people in our community who are dead set serious on wanting to make Dubbo a better place for all people, especially those who are doing it though when it comes to their various abilities,” Cr Shields said.

“Each and every one of them are worthy on being on this panel but we’re almost bursting at the seams. Any more and it almost becomes an unworkable panel.”

It’s amazing to know there are so many people in our community who are dead set serious on wanting to make Dubbo a better place for all people...

Ben Shields

Cr Shields said he was looking forward to getting the panel up and going.

Councillor Stephen Lawrence said he was impressed by the quality of applications to the Disability Inclusion Technical Panel and the range of personal, technical and professional experience the applicants put forward.

It was both fortunate and unfortunate there was such a high number of high-quality applicants, Cr Lawrence

There are 2500 people in the Dubbo local government area who have a profound or severe disability and another 4500 who act as a carers for a disabled person.

The panel will also help council implement the Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The plan has four goals: developing positive attitudes towards people with a disability, creating a more liveable community for people with a disability, providing equal access to employment within council for people with a disability and providing appropriate service information for people with a disability.

A report will be prepared as part of the inclusion plan outlining a priority list of infrastructure works needed in Dubbo across the next four years to improve the lives of disabled residents.