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Making region accessible to all

Posted: 1pm 31 Aug 2020

The Moreton Bay Region is a stunning place to explore and a new website aims to make this easier for all of us, particularly visitors and residents with disabilities.

Visit Moreton Bay Region for All has been created by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT), in partnership with Moreton Bay Regional Council.

It includes information about things to do, places and spaces to explore, events to check out and how to get to the region.

Responding to demand

MBRIT Tourism Engagement and Experience Manager Renee Gusa says the website was created in response to an increasing number of questions on social media and at Visitor Information Centres about accessible places and spaces to visit.

Renee recalls a woman from North Lakes whose parents were visiting from the UK for three months needed information about spaces and places they could visit as one used a wheelchair. She didn’t know where to start.

Consultation with community groups and disability networks also revealed a gap, and gave MBRIT an insight into what information was needed and how they defined accessibility.

“There were things that we hadn’t even considered,” Renee says.

“We then went to every park listed on the website to get the detail needed and to ensure it was truly accessible, including sensory considerations.”

How the website will help

Renee says while the website will hopefully bring more visitors to the region, it will also give locals the information they need to enjoy the region they call home.

This is just the beginning with stage two already underway. It will include tourism spaces, places and businesses.

“These will be verified using lived experiences proving it is accessible,” she says.

“I think that’s really important as a region that we continue to connect with our networks to ensure we’re getting their input into the development of these products.

“It comes back to lived experiences. The more we listen, the better we can make it.”

There’s also a closed Facebook group called Accessible Things to do in the Moreton Bay Region.

“Anyone can join that group. It’s about people in the community being able to share accessible places they’ve been to,” Renee explains.

“It’s also a nice online community for people wanting to visit the region.”

Focus on accessibility in the Moreton Bay Region

Mayor Peter Flannery says the council made a Budget commitment to look at how it can make Moreton Bay Region the most accessible tourism destination in South East Queensland.

“I don’t think that’s unachievable,” Mayor Peter Flannery said.

“Beyond being the responsible thing to do, this actually makes business sense. Accessible infrastructure benefits everyone from the elderly and mums with prams through to people living with disabilities. It’s an important initiative.”

In the next 30 years it’s estimated that nearly 25 per cent of the Australian population will be aged 65 of over and within the next five years, the NDIS will provide more than $22 billion in funding a year to nearly 500,000 people.

“By investing in accessible infrastructure, we not only enrich the opportunities for our community, but also give Moreton Bay a market edge to a growing tourism market.

“Choosing where to spend a weekend away is sometimes hard enough, let alone when you have specific requirements. This is why we’ve partnered with MBRIT to create a new website to make it easier for people to find things to do in Moreton Bay that caters to their needs.

“I’ve said that I want to make sure no one, regardless of their social or physical abilities, slips through the cracks as we chart a course to economic recovery. This means an unprecedented investment into both infrastructure and activities to support community sports, clubs, and organisations.”

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