Western Australia is leading the way in accessibility following the launch of a new initiative which will unlock access to a network of specialised all-ability toilet facilities across the state, and nation, for people with disability and their carers.
Developed by Western Australian (WA) state and local government’s, and the state branch of national disability peak body National Disability Services (NDS), the initiative is giving free keys to carers holding a Companion Card which will allow them access to the growing number of customised public bathrooms - called Changing Places - which feature ceiling hoists, adult changing tables, a secure automatic door and space to support two people.
Western Australian Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson officially launched the Master Locksmith Access Key free offer on April 17 at the first place in Western Australia to build a Changing Places facility - BP’s The Lakes roadhouse in Chidlow.
“Changing Places break down barriers and help ensure people can access convenient and appropriate public restroom facilities that meet their needs when away from home,” Minister Dawson explains.
“The growing network of Changing Places helps to increase options for people with disability, their families, carers and friends when making plans to travel throughout WA and interstate.
“The NDS WA offer is a fantastic chance for current WA Companion Card holders to access a free key that will unlock most Changing Places in Australia to date, as well as universal accessible toilets and playground equipment using the same key system.”
He adds that the key and locking system will ensure the facilities are safe and secure when not in use, and are available to those who need them.
Local Western Australian resident, Anita Gamba, who has multiple sclerosis, welcomes the Changing Places initiative for ensuring people with disability can access the community.
“I applaud Changing Places for its vision to help restore the dignity of people who live with disabilities by providing places where private can be kept as just… private,” she says.
The Master Locksmith Access Key free offer will be available through NDS WA until 31 July 2018, and available to people without a WA Companion Card on a considered case-by-case basis.