People living with disabilities will have stronger advocacy in The Hills Shire with the establishment of Council’s first ever disability and inclusion reference group, Mayor, Peter Gangemi said today.
“It is important to me that The Hills is as inclusive a place as possible, and this group will be tasked with helping us remove as many barriers to social participation as possible,” Mayor Gangemi said.
“Whether it’s making venues more accessible, events more inclusive or simply raising awareness, we want people of all abilities and their carers to tell us how we can make the Shire a better place.
“That’s why creating this reference group is so important in informing councillors and staff how we can do things better.”
The Mayor said membership of the panel will be open to a diverse cross-section of people living with a disability, their carers and experts in the field of disability, access and inclusion.
“Council has taken additional steps to make our community more inclusive including the adoption of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2022-2026, upcoming extension to Livvi’s Place Playground, the awarding of community grants to key projects and creating the Disability Inclusion Award at the Sydney Hills Local Business Awards,” Mayor Gangemi said.
“Our new Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centre was also recognised as an inclusive, accessible and functional facility on the national stage winning the Cohesive Communities Category at the National Awards for Local Government in June.
“We have also undertaken key projects to further support our neurodivergent community including the introduction of Sensitive Storytime, Sensitive Library and having a separate sensory session for neurodivergent children at the Mayor’s Christmas Party on Saturday.
“We are also looking at additional measures for Australia Day, such as breakout quiet spaces at Bella Vista Farm during the event.
“I encourage members of the community who are passionate in this area to put their name forward and help us make The Hills Shire a better place.”
The establishment of the reference group was endorsed as part of Council’s Disability and Inclusion Action Plan.
To submit your Expression of Interest for the Disability and Inclusion reference group, visit www.thehills.nsw.gov.au and search for ‘Disability.’ Nominations will close on Friday, 23 February 2024.