Return to the Brisbane Access and Inclusion page.
Table of contents
- Lord Mayor's introduction
- Executive summary
- Our shared vision for Brisbane
- A profile of people who benefit from better access and inclusion in Brisbane
- Council's history of access and inclusion initiatives
- Reflection on Council's changing approach to access and inclusion
- How this plan was developed
- Implementation, monitoring and reporting
- An innovative local government role
Brisbane is known for its relaxed lifestyle, community feel and friendly atmosphere. However, we face many challenges in maintaining our sense of community including rapid growth, difficult economic conditions, increasing cultural diversity, an ageing population and limited access to services and affordable housing for people who are disadvantaged.
Council has a vision for a friendly and safe city, with strong, welcoming, caring and inclusive communities. We have a clear local government role in promoting social cohesion and connection and supporting our diverse communities to play an active part in the life of Brisbane.
Council shares the responsibility for social inclusion initiatives with partners including other spheres of government, community groups and organisations and the business sector. These partnerships strengthen our ability to monitor and respond to emerging needs and provide ways for us to advocate for improved services and programs.
The Queensland and Commonwealth governments have primary responsibility for the provision of welfare and community services including family support, child safety, public housing and the disability service system.
The Queensland Government also has primary responsibility for supporting carers and has introduced both the Carer Business Discount Card providing discounts and incentives from participating businesses and the Companion Card providing free entry for carers at venues that honour the card.
Where we are
Council has a high level of awareness of the social and community needs of people with a disability. We are aware that key Queensland and Commonwealth government funding programs are not meeting the demand for support services and many people and their families and carers are under personal and financial stress from the responsibility of care. We will continue to advocate for appropriate levels of funding to meet the needs of our growing population.
The role in which Council makes a significant contribution to community wellbeing in Brisbane is supporting local community groups to implement their own initiatives to meet local needs. Current community projects with a focus on inclusion:
- Men's Sheds in Carina, Mount Gravatt, Nundah, Enoggera, Sandgate, Toowong, Bardon, Ashgrove
- supporting new community spaces at Acacia Ridge, Bowen Hills, Stafford and Bracken Ridge
- establishing new community centres in Kenmore, Jamboree, Woolloongabba and Fortitude Valley
- supporting groups to set up community gardens in Banyo, Geebung, Kelvin Grove, Toowong, Coorparoo, Holland Park and Wynnum
- supporting interagency networks that coordinate services across community and human service organisations
- supporting National Neighbour Day every March
- supporting Yes We Care initiative to assist older people outside of Home and Community Care (HACC) program with home and garden maintenance using volunteers
- supporting local groups to raise awareness in Mental Health Week
Council's community grants fund non-profit organisations to build their capacity and run projects responding to local community issues. Some recent examples have had a focus on access and inclusion:
- CO AS IT Italian-Australian Welfare Association encourages socially isolated Italian Australians with language difficulties and mental health issues to connect with mainstream activities
- West End Family Care Services creates and self-publishes online the digital stories of people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities
- Mantle Housing Limited develops the strategic and governance capacity required to become a long-term housing provider for people with schizophrenia
- The Grove Uniting Church runs the Tuesday living room project for people with intellectual disabilities
We also support social enterprises that provide opportunities and employment for long-term unemployed people including people with a disability:
- Nundah Community Enterprises Co-op creates sustainable employment and training opportunities for people with mental illness, learning difficulties or intellectual disabilities through coffee shop, catering and parks maintenance enterprises
- Endeavour Foundation operates Council's Tip Shop at Acacia Ridge, supporting people with a disability in selling quality used, recycled and second-hand products salvaged before going to landfill
- Northey Street City Farm demonstrates environmental and economic sustainability in a healthy, diverse and supportive community, hosting many programs that are accessible and inclusive
In addition to these community partnerships, there are several Council community programs that provide direct benefits for people who experience disadvantage related to illness and disability:
- our Visible Ink youth spaces are used regularly by groups supporting young people with a disability and are a key site for integration with young people from all sorts of backgrounds
- the Resilience Partnership with the Child and Youth Mental Health Service is training frontline Council staff and community workers in mental health first aid, prevention and early intervention
- Homeless Connect events, Public Space Liaison Officers and affordable housing programs support some of Brisbane's most vulnerable people, many with mental health issues and other disabilities. We also liaise with Brisbane's street vans that provide food and support for people on the streets
- The Domestic Blitz pilot project assists people who are faced with Public Health Orders due to domestic squalor and compulsive hoarding
- the new Access Improvement Program allocates all money collected from fines issued to people parking illegally in disability zones to initiatives that improve access to services and facilities
Our Indigenous and Multicultural team also build networks with grassroots community groups across the city to ensure that our services and projects are inclusive of all people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Where we want to be
We want all Brisbane residents and visitors to experience Brisbane as a socially cohesive and connected city, where people show willing friendship and compassion by helping others, welcoming new residents, taking care of people who are disadvantaged, celebrating cultural diversity and holding high regard for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Be well informed and responsive to the needs of people with a disability and their families and carers, and well connected with stakeholder groups across the city.
- Support local community initiatives and broker partnerships with community groups, businesses and other levels of government to respond to access and inclusion challenges.
- Support social enterprises that provide employment opportunities for people who face barriers in the labour market.
- Monitor emerging needs of people with a disability and their carers at a local community level and advocate for appropriate Queensland and Commonwealth government service responses.
- Liaise with Brisbane's diverse communities to identify and overcome barriers preventing people from accessing Council information and services.
Existing actions that will continue
Disability Partnerships Officer
We will continue the Disability Partnerships role to:
- seed innovative responses and strategies
- advocate for Queensland and Commonwealth government services
- ensure legislative requirements are met for accessible public infrastructure and the pedestrian environment
- provide education and guidance within Council to meet the obligations of the Disability Discrimination Act
- provide information on disability access in the built environment
- facilitate access and inclusion initiatives across Council
Access Improvement Program
We will continue to allocate fines for parking infringements in disability parking zones to initiatives that improve access to Council services and facilities.
Visible Ink youth spaces
Our Visible Ink youth spaces will continue to provide opportunities for a wide range of young people including individuals and groups who have disabilities. Anyone who wants to attend a Visible Ink program is invited to contact us to discuss their support needs and we will do our best to make sure they can participate.
The Resilience Partnership
This partnership with Child and Youth Mental Health Service will continue training frontline Council staff and community workers in mental health first-aid, prevention and early intervention.
Community development projects
Community development officers will continue to support community groups and local networks to implement their own initiatives to meet local needs.
Indigenous employment linkages
We will continue helping employment organisations that support people with a disability to connect and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Support for former refugees who have experienced trauma
We will continue to support former refugee communities in Brisbane and, in particular, those who have mental health difficulties as a result of trauma experiences prior to settlement. We will continue to raise awareness among our uniformed local laws officers about issues that may arise when they interact with people who have been traumatised by bad experiences overseas with military or police officers.
Public Space Liaison Officers
We will continue to patrol parks, malls and other public spaces, connecting with people who are sleeping rough, many of whom are living with mental health issues and other disabilities, and assisting them to find accommodation and access services.
Social enterprise and social procurement
We will continue to support social enterprises providing opportunities for people who face barriers in the labour market.
We will continue to host a friendly and welcoming event where people who are homeless can access services and support.
We will continue to supports the new Men's Shed groups in Brisbane to provide safe, supportive and friendly environments for men of all ages to gather, volunteer, work and seek fellowship with other like-minded people.
Disaster management and recovery
We will continue to consider the particular needs of vulnerable people in our disaster management planning and coordination with the Queensland Government and in our role in recovery after extreme weather and other disaster events. We have recently updated the Brisbane Disaster Management Plan to incorporate lessons learned in the January 2011 floods.
New initiatives or extensions
- Lord Mayor's Advisory Committee on Access and Ageing. We will establish a Lord Mayor's Advisory Committee on Access and Ageing to provide advice to Council on the implementation of this plan and the Seniors Strategy 2012-2017.
- Access and Inclusion Partnership Grants. We will establish a community grants program to provide funding to community organisations for one-off projects to support Council-community partnerships in the implementation of this plan. We will encourage mainstream community organisations to apply for projects making their programs more accessible and inclusive.
- Feasibility study on Brisbane Mobility Centre. We will conduct a feasibility study on the establishment of a mobility centre to provide access to mobility aids in the central business district and investigate the potential for partnerships with existing providers and satellite sites in other locations across the city.
- Recharge Scheme. We will investigate the feasibility of establishing a recharge scheme providing publicly accessible power points in Council buildings, community facilities and supportive local businesses across the city for people to recharge their electric chairs and scooters.
- Carer Business Discount Card. We will encourage business units across Council to sign onto the new Queensland Government Carer Discount Card, providing discounts on fees and other incentives for carers.
- Honouring and promoting Companion Cards. We will develop a consistent approach to honouring the Companion Card and be proactive in promoting its benefits to Brisbane residents and visitors.
- Overcoming language barriers for culturally and linguistically diverse people. We will disseminate information on Council access and inclusion initiatives to culturally and linguistically diverse communities through avenues such as 4EB Radio and community networks, organisations and associations. In response to community feedback, we will publish a factsheet in a range of community languages promoting Council's access and inclusion programs and distribute it through community organisations and bicultural community workers. We will also provide the fact sheet online in Auslan.
- Proactive engagement of Indigenous Australian and culturally and linguistically diverse people. We will meet with groups and organisations that provide services and advocacy for people with a disability from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and invite them to participate in Council forums, networks and consultation processes.
- Online information on accessible accommodation. The Access and Inclusion Partnership Grants will provide an opportunity for Brisbane community groups to develop a project auditing short-stay accommodation in Brisbane, publishing the information online and providing business owners with information about the benefits and practicalities of making their accommodation accessible.