People with a disability are first and foremost people. They are people with skills, abilities, dreams, aspirations and often experience restrictions and multiple barriers in achieving them. Hobart City Council's role in responding to the aspirations and needs of these members of the community is to use what ever is within its scope of responsibility to achieve equal access in the city of Hobart.
This is done through the Equal Access Strategy Equal Access Strategy
In the 2003 ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) it was found that one in five people in Australia (3,958,300 or 20.0%) had a reported disability. Comparing the states and territories using SDAC data which have been adjusted to account for differences in age structures, Tasmania and South Australia had the highest disability rates (23.5%), while the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest (16%).
According to the 2001 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census, 15.7% of all people in the Hobart municipal area identified that they have a disability - 6.2% of people have a level of profound / severe disability, 4.5% of people have a moderate disability and 5% have a mild disability. The majority of men and women who face employment restrictions have profound disabilities. While the oldest age category (75 and over) has the highest levels of all types and degrees of disability (i.e. profound / severe, moderate and mild), disabilities affect all age groups.
The provision of equal access enhances everyone's capacity to participate fully in community life, regardless of their physical or mental capabilities. People with disabilities, and other people with access limitations, have the same fundamental rights as all members of the community, as articulated by the following principles.
- People with a disability should not be defined by their disability.
- People with disabilities have a right to equal access to facilities, services, programs, activities and employment in order to fully participate in the community and have equal opportunity to fulfil their individual potential.
- Changes to the physical and social environment to improve access and equity assist people with disabilities to integrate more completely into the community, and also benefit the wider community.