Benchmark set for inclusive play spaces

Posted 4 years ago

Play spaces in Australia could soon all be regulated to make them more inclusive to all. (Shutterstock)
Play spaces in Australia could soon all be regulated to make them more inclusive to all. (Shutterstock)

Catering for children of all abilities at playgrounds could become a nationwide trend with new standards being set by the New South Wales (NSW) government.

Play spaces across NSW will be required to meet specific design regulations to ensure better accessibility with the government contributing $750,000 towards the initiative.

NSW Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts believes the new guidelines will even the playing field for people with disabilities or added needs,

“I want all playgrounds in NSW to be reviewed as part of an in-depth audit that will see them assessed and rated against universal design principles,” he says.

“It is imperative that our open spaces and playgrounds in parklands are able to be enjoyed by every citizen regardless of their level of ability.”

A retrospective review of the existing playgrounds in the state will determine what work needs to be done to provide the same level of accessibility.

The elderly, parents and support carers are also expected to benefit from the changes.

Dignity Party MLC Kelly Vincent supports the idea and urges the South Australian (SA) government to take similar action to transform playgrounds and other public spaces.

“Spending time in our beautiful outdoors is part of the Australian lifestyle,” Ms Vincent says.

“At this time of year, many of us are planning outdoor events and activities, but at the moment, not everyone can participate.”

She calls for all levels of government in SA to work together to take action.

“To follow the New South Wales example is a golden opportunity for South Australia to go a step further, by putting widespread accessibility on the map,” Ms Vincent says.

NSW’s Department of Planning and Environment are expected to release designed play spaces next year after a consultation process with councils, stakeholders and the public.