Esperance Shire reviews its disability access plan

The Esperance Shire's plan to ensure access and inclusion for people with a disability is currently undergoing a 'total rewrite'.

A new draft 'Disability Access and Inclusion Plan' has been approved by the Department of Communities and is now being reviewed by locals with disabilities, their carers and families and service providers.

Shire chief executive officer Matthew Scott said the plan was a 'living document' and was updated as required.

"A total rewrite is currently being undertaken and we are working closely with the Department of Communities as well as the Esperance community to ensure a comprehensive and relevant plan is in place," he said.

Mr Scott said in the past couple of years, it was identified the current plan lacked some important information.

The new draft plan is based around seven outcomes identified by the department. These include access to council facilities and services, inclusion at public events and communication options so the whole community knew what was happening around town.

Mr Scott said through the development of the draft plan, the shire had seen where it could improve in some areas.

"We are currently undertaking an extensive consultation process with stakeholders, including service providers, people living with a disability and their carers," he said.

"As part of the plan, we will be implementing a Disability Access and Inclusion Plan working group who will provide ongoing advise and feedback on measures that can be taken to improve these services."

Mr Scott said once consultation with stakeholders was done, the plan would be presented to council to endorse.

This is expected to occur in early-2020.

Esperance-based service coordinator Linda Tobin works at family-led organisation, Cam Can.

Mrs Tobin is providing feedback on the draft plan and has shared it with the organisation's clients and their families.

One area she would like to see improved accessibility is at the Bay of Isles Leisure Centre, as there is no hoist in the changing facility.

Mrs Tobin said there were also some areas in town where footpaths didn't meet up with other footpaths and where larger curbs could be challenging for people in wheelchairs.

However, she said Esperance was generally a community that was very inclusive.

"Our physical environment is fairly accessible. You're never going to get that absolutely right, but we do a fairly good job at it," she said.

Mrs Tobin said the community's attitude was also welcoming and inclusive.

"That's really important because we know happiness is based around human connection. That connection is important for any group in our community," she said.

Mrs Tobin said it was good to see the shire's draft plan was emphasising consultation with the local disability community.