Melbourne beaches introduce ‘floating wheelchairs’

Posted 6 years ago by Andrew Lodiong

Two beaches in Melbourne have become more inclusive with the introduction of new disability-friendly equipment.

Wheelchair users will be able to enjoy a splash in the water at the St Kilda and Port Melbourne bays after a $65,000 investment by the City of Port Phillip Council.

Cost-free special matting, used to help beach goers who have physical or mobility disabilities down to the shoreline and ‘floating’ wheelchairs will make the popular summer destinations more accessible.

Council Mayor Bernadene Voss says the new additions will help make it an enjoyable time at both beaches for everyone.

“As our Council is always trying to improve inclusion and accessibility, we wanted people with disabilities to have the same opportunity to explore and experience Port Phillip beaches,” Mrs Voss says.

“Thanks to the matting and ‘Mobi-Chairs’, people will be able to access the bay – many for the first time – and we hope they will regularly return for a great day out.”

St Kilda and Port Melbourne Life Saving Clubs were instrumental in the initiative and will coordinate usage of equipment during patrol hours.

Council believes the beach wheelchairs have consolidated St Kilda’s status as the nation’s most accessible beach.

Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin is pleased to see the ongoing effort to making a popular activities more accessible.

“I am delighted to see Port Phillip Council demonstrate an understanding of the need to be inclusive and provide access to their beaches,” he says.

“This means people with a disability can now enjoy a day at their beaches just like anyone else.”

For more information about the program, visit City of Port Phillip’s accessible beaches web page.