In this second series of Inform, we’ll be discussing accessibility. But not as you might know it. From the workplace to the classroom, we’ll be asking what accessibility means and why it matters. We’ll also be discussing some strategies and tips for things like advocating for accessibility or accessing information on assistive technology.

Accessibility in regional and rural Australia

Around 7 million people live in regional and rural Australia, that’s nearly a third of the population. For people with disabilities, living regionally presents some unique challenges. Chief among them access to services and supports. But, despite the challenges, there’s plenty of good. The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey revealed that people living in non-urban areas generally have higher levels of life satisfaction. That’s something our guests in this episode can attest to.

In episode four, we spoke with David Timms. David is a complete spinal cord paraplegic. He lives in regional Victoria, about two hours north of Melbourne.  

To live here has some disadvantages but the advantages of being able to wake up in the morning, go through your morning routine — and being double incontinent that normally takes about an hour — have your breakfast out on your back deck looking at the kangaroos jumping around your property, listen to the birds, this time of year the lake has got the swans with their babies around. And you just don’t get that in Melbourne. The peace and quiet is very suitable for my lifestyle —  David Timms

Making accessible communities

Also, in this episode, we speak with Bev Watson, a Rural Access Worker for a regional shire in Western Victoria. Bev works to make her community a more accessible and inclusive space. She has some practical advice for anyone wanting to engage more with their regional community. 

For someone who’s thinking of going to a region or rural area, I would say, do your homework. Check out the sorts of health services available, service providers, if you require service providers, check out whether or not they actually can service wherever you’re going to be living. Check out a lot of the community groups and see which of those you feel you might be able to be part of when you move into the town because it’s a great way to get to know a place and it’s a great way to get to know the people in it in a town or region —  Bev Watson

Do you have a story of accessibility that you’d like to share? Get in touch at [email protected]

Thank you for joining us for episode four of series two of the Inform podcast. If you’re keen to hear more, you can go back and listen to the first three episodes of this series or our first series where we focused on work. You can find those episodes here: www.informonline.org.au/listen

This is the final episode in our series on accessibility. We’ll be back soon with more but in the meantime, you can find all our episodes from this series and from our earlier series on work  at www.informonline.org.au/listen, or subscribe to Inform on your preferred podcast listening app to stay up to date.

Host & Producer: Kirby Fenwick
Managing editor: Alison Crowe
Sound Designer: Imogen Hanrahan

With thanks to David Timms and Bev Watson.

Ready to read more? Try these Inform links:

Series 2, Episode 3: Higher Education

How the NDIS helped me to travel the world

Series 2, Episode 2: Assistive Technology

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