A City for Everyone: Draft Inclusive Brisbane Plan 2019-2029 - Theme 5: Engage

By 2029 Brisbane will be a city for everybody - known worldwide for embracing all ages, abilities and cultures.

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A city where everyone feels they belong and can have their say

I feel welcomed in Brisbane and part of the community.

In Brisbane, everyone is encouraged to be involved in shaping our city as an inclusive and resilient place to live. Everyone should be able to know what is going on in Brisbane and communicate with Council about their ideas.

By 2029, people of all ages, abilities and cultures will have access to information and opportunities that make it easier to get involved in the city. Council will provide information in a wider variety of formats and languages to meet our growing cultural diversity, and utilise new technologies to make it easier to enjoy Brisbane and interact with Council. By facilitating increased confidence and access to digital devices including potential integration of voice translation and voice-activated products, more residents will be able to engage. Council will increasingly focus on partnering with communities to deliver projects and events that help people feel safe and a part of their community.

Inclusive governance

Council’s community engagement programs give everyone the chance to contribute to their community and have their say on issues that matter. Regular consultation and activities with a broad cross-section of residents ensure Council benefits from a diverse range of opinions.

Good information enables sound decision-making and Council is leading the way in its provision of well-crafted, accessible materials. Most documents are published in hard copy and online versions can be found in accessible formats. All materials are routinely considered for translation and more will be made available in braille, audio, large-print and different languages in the future.

Technology is opening doors to easier interactions with Council. Residents text ideas or pictures showing problems that need fixing. Soon, they could potentially be able to chat with Council officers online in real time and search web content through speech-activated devices.

Travellers already know the power of text-to-speech and voice translation mobile applications and Council is exploring how these kinds of tools can help people who don’t speak English well, or find it hard to talk, be heard at consultation events or when contacting Council.

Digital communication will complement, not replace, traditional methods. Council’s corporate website meets best-practice accessibility standards and is highly functional from mobile devices. It can be viewed in six different languages – English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic and Korean. Translated Facebook posts and a dedicated Weibo account (one of China’s most popular social networking sites) cater for Korean and Chinese communities.

Anyone can apply to address Councillors and the Lord Mayor at City Hall on matters of public interest, and a new Auslan video will support people who are deaf to take up this opportunity.

Digital participation

I can easily find out about things happening in Brisbane and share my ideas.

From language translation applications for mobile smartphones to beacons in public spaces that guide people who are blind, technology is breaking down barriers in our community and making it easier to work, move around the city and access information and services. Increasing access to the internet for the 38,000 households that don’t have it [xvii], having the right device and developing skills, will mean more people can access online services and connect with communities.

Digital literacy programs will bridge the digital divide so people of all ages, abilities, incomes and backgrounds can participate in community life. Upskilling seniors and people with disability [xviii], and educating them on the digital environment so they can connect, share and participate in online engagement activities will be a particular focus.

Strong, connected communities

Brisbane is a city of strong and diverse communities that continue to evolve. New residents from Africa, Burma and central Asia are now settling alongside established Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Italian and Greek communities. More than 200 languages are now spoken in our homes. After English, Mandarin Chinese is the most common, but Hindi and other languages of the Indian sub-continent are rising fast. Communicating with migrants, students and visitors in a language they understand is essential in making them feel welcome, connected to others and empowered to contribute to the city as active citizens.

Brisbane’s growing reputation as an innovative New World City and the city’s high-quality universities are drawing students from across the globe who are welcomed through the Lord Mayor’s International Student Friendship Ceremony.

To continue to build strong, cohesive and resilient communities, Council will partner with local community organisations to deliver events so that residents feel a stronger part of their community, know what is happening across the city, find the support they need and share their ideas. Partnering with communities of all ages, abilities and cultures will enable Council to better understand and respond to customer needs. Brisbane Innovate events will bring together communities to design new projects that address emerging community needs.

Future possibilities

Between 2019 and 2029, Council is considering a focus on the following strategies and possible actions.

Help people feel safe, welcome and connected to their community.

  • Partner with culturally diverse communities and disability and seniors support organisations to design alert and evacuation procedures to ensure safety in disasters.
  • Partner with international students and networks such as the Lord Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, to deliver support programs that bring together young people with diverse backgrounds and abilities to build new friendships at Council events.
  • Provide additional audio descriptions and Auslan interpretation of content on Council’s website.
  • Facilitate corporate networks for businesses and organisations to share best practice in creating inclusive media campaigns that best reach a diversity of residents (such as campaigns that promote disaster preparedness to different cultural groups).

Harness technology to make it easier to enjoy Brisbane and interact with Council.

  • Partner with local communities to deliver computer and internet programs that remove barriers to getting online, increase access to devices (like tablets and laptops) and the internet.
  • Provide improvements to Council’s service centres, website and online services through assistive and self-service technologies so that people with disabilities and those with limited English have a range of ways to communicate with Council beyond the telephone.

Enable everyone to have their say.

  • Provide an Auslan explanatory video about how to engage with Council at meetings, events and through formal submissions responding to community issues.
  • Partner with industry to explore new technologies that enable greater participation by people of all abilities and cultural backgrounds in mainstream engagement events, such as Auslan-to-audio devices for deaf residents and touchscreen-to-speech mobile phone applications for people with speech impairments or limited cognitive abilities.

Ongoing commitments

Facilitating welcome programs and supporting community events that bring communities together will continue, as will the facilitation of innovation events that bring together community leaders, academics and businesses to generate new ideas on ways to foster social inclusion through collaborative partnerships.

Partnering with local organisations to increase opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to have a say on the future of their neighbourhoods, will also continue.

Council will continue to provide printed and web-based documents in accessible formats and different languages, operate an accessible website in different languages, provide information and support for Councillors and ward office staff to support diverse customers and offer Auslan interpreters where requested.

The Inclusive Brisbane Board will continue to provide advice to Council on social issues and opportunities. Council will continue to welcome international students through the City Welcome Festival, incorporating the Lord Mayor’s International Student Friendship Ceremony and facilitate personal safety seminars for international students and newly arrived migrants.

As part of ongoing operations, Council will provide awareness campaigns about access and inclusion issues, and provide support to vulnerable groups to prepare for, and recover from, extreme weather events and natural disasters. Council will continue to raise awareness of social inclusion through events such as Carers Week, Anti-Poverty Week, Harmony Day, Seniors Week, International Day of People with Disability, Grandparents Day and National Neighbour Day, as well as facilitating awards such as the Senior of the Year Award. Ongoing funding for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee week events will continue to celebrate our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

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Last updated:10 December 2019