We're working to make Wollongong an inclusive city that gives people with disability equal opportunities to take part in the life of our community.
The information on these pages is provided as a guide to help event organisers plan better so everybody can take part in your activity. It can also help you understand and meet your legal requirements for accessibility and inclusion.
People with disability have told us that they want to take part in community life, but they often can't because of access barriers. Some of the common barriers that make it hard for people with disability to take part in events include:
- Physical barriers that make it hard to access event venues, like a lack of paths, ramps, accessible toilets, accessible parking or lifts.
- Communication barriers, including the way information about the event is provided (for example, not being written in plain English, or in text that cannot be read by screen readers). This also includes not providing information about what accessible features are available at the event, or how to ask for support.
- Attitudinal barriers which can happen when organisers aren't aware, or don't understand the needs and interests of people with disability. This can also include assumptions that people with disability cannot do certain things.
- Sensory barriers where busy or noisy environments can create sensory overload. Things like loud music, flashing lights and visual effects can be difficult for some people.
Many of these barriers can be removed with greater awareness of disability, good planning, and communication.
People with disability
One in five people in Australia have a disability, and more than 50% of older people live with disability. So if your event isn't accessible, you could be missing out on a big part of your potential audience!
The definition of disability is broad, and includes disabilities which are:
- Cognitive or sensory (blind or low vision, Deaf or hard of hearing, autism spectrum disorder)
- Learning difficulties
- The presence in the body of disease-causing organisms.
Each type of disability can create different barriers to people taking part in activities.
Each person is different. What works for one person may not work for another, even if both people have the same disability. Being flexible, respectful, and asking people if and how you can help will go a long way.
It's also important to remember that someone's disability might not always be obvious.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of disability when providing goods and services or access to public facilities. This includes venues where events are held, and the activities and services provided.
The NSW Disability Act 2014 requires all councils in NSW to have a Disability Inclusion Action Plan. This plan includes actions to give people with disability more opportunities to participate in Council-run or Council-supported events, festivals and other community activities. You can find our Disability Inclusion Action Plan on the Support for People with Disability page of this website.
Making your event accessible and inclusive
Accessible and inclusive events benefit everyone.
There are four main areas where you can improve access and inclusiveness. For each area, we've listed the minimum things you need to do, plus some extra steps you can take if you want to make your event even more accessible.
You may need budget to provide some accessible features for your event, but there are also many things you can do for no additional cost. There are also many disability organisations that are happy to help you make your event more inclusive.
Pick an option below to learn more.
Information, tools and support
You don't need to be an accessibility expert to make your event inclusive. There are lots of resources available to help, and organisations who are more than happy to give you extra advice if you need it.
For more information about this guide or making your event accessible, you can email Wollongong City Council or call our Community Development Worker Aged & Disability Officer on (02) 4227 7111.
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet (2021) Toolkit for Accessible and Inclusive Events
- NSW Public Service Commission's guide to accessible events
- City of Sydney A City for All Disability Inclusive Event Guidelines
Wollongong City Council acknowledges and thanks the City of Sydney for permission to adapt their guidelines to a Wollongong context.
Make sure you also visit Council's Organise an Event pages for general information about events in our city.