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International Day of people with a disability

Planning is underway for 2019 events for Mental Health Month and the annual Inclusive Film Festival to Celebrate International Day of People with Disability.

International Day of People with Disability is a United Nations day that promotes inclusivity and celebrates the achievements and contributions of people with disability.

By gathering together to celebrate this day, we can help to ensure inclusion for the 4.3 million Australians living with disability and contribute to positive change in our community.

This year Inner West Council will mark International Day of People with Disability by holding a Film Festival featuring international films curated by the Other Film Festival.

Where: Petersham Town Hall
When: 6 and 7 December 2019
Session times t.b.c
Access features include: Auslan Interpreters, Audio described, Hearing loops, Captioned and held in an Accessible Venue

There will be champagne and canapes on arrival for this gala event so (suggested) dress code for a cocktail soiree.

Our event is accessible and we encourage all people with disability, their families and carers to come along and join the fun.

Our partners are: Ability Links St Vincent de Paul, Ability Links Settlement Services International, Disability Services Australia, Exodus Foundation, and Mable

Thousands of community organisations have held International Day of People of Disability registered events across Australia since its inception in 1992.

For more information about Inner West Councils film festival gala,contact

Get Involved

If you would like to be part of planning, or get involved on the event day for Mental Health Month and International Day of people with a disability let us know- send an email to


Excellence in Access Award for local businesses

The Inner West Council is strongly committed to the provision of equal access and the development of a community which is inclusive of all its residents, workers and visitors.

The Excellence in Access Award recognises and acknowledges businesses that have proactively created a more inclusive space and customer focussed systems.

Award winners will have engaged the community in innovative ways that demonstrate inclusive practice beyond basic compliance. The Excellence in Access Award will acknowledge initiatives from business that will enable a person with disability to access local services in an independent, welcoming and dignified manner.

To nominate a local business go the Business Awards webpage

25 years of the Disability Discrimination Act

Published 2 March 2018

On 1 March 2018 the Disability Discrimination Act (or DDA) celebrated its 25th anniversary.

This was Australia's first piece of legislation to protect the rights of people with disability. A quarter of a century on, the DDA has been used by thousands to fight discrimination in areas including employment, education, and access to goods and services.

Complaints relating to disability discrimination account for around 40% of all complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission. That's about the same amount of complaints received for both gender and racial discrimination combined.

The Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, says "Over the past 25 years, the act has been instrumental in social change, and has been used by individuals to fight against discriminatory practices in many fields, including education, access to transport, goods, services facilities, and more."

Although we've come a long way, and there have been momentous achievements by people with disability over the last 25 years, there is still so much work to be done. Alastair McEwin says, "Most of the disability discrimination complaints that we receive relate to employment, and the barriers that people face in accessing goods, services and facilities. These types of complaints have vied for top place among DDA complaints for the past five years."

This is clear when it comes to statistics around accessibility, inclusion, education and equal opportunity in Australia:

Only approximately 50 per cent of Sydney train stations are fully accessible
53% of people with a disability aged 15 to 64 years are currently employed, compared with 83% of people without a disability
36% of people with a disability aged 18 to 64 years have completed year 12, compared with 60% of those without a disability
45% of those with a disability in Australia are living either near or below the poverty line

Scarlett Finney was just five years old when she faced discrimination. The Hills Grammar School in Sydney said they couldn't accept her as a student, because they couldn't accommodate her wheelchair. Scarlett, who has spina bifida, used the DDA and took the matter to the commission. The matter ended up in the Federal Court and, these days, Hills Grammar is a pioneer in inclusive education.

Visit the Australian Human Rights Commission's "20 Stories" video web page for the stories of Scarlett and others who have used the DDA to improve their lives.

If you want to learn more about Inner West Council's work towards full access and inclusion, visit the Inclusion Access Plan web page.

Council makes inclusion its cornerstone

Published 30 May 2017

Inner West Council's new Inclusion Action Plan will remove barriers to access and participation for people with disability.

Council administrator Richard Pearson said the plan targets specific areas where local government can make a difference, including access to infrastructure, cultural development and information as well as having real input into key Council processes.

"A key new initiative in the plan is for Council to aim for a workforce that mirrors the demographics of the Inner West community in relation to including people with a disability," he said.

"We need to send an important message: that for a society to be healthy and functioning, everyone needs to be included and that should be reflected in the make-up of the Council workforce itself."

The plan was developed in consultation with people with a disability and family members, as well as with Council's strategic reference groups and other agencies and service providers.

Mr Pearson said the plan was about Council taking a leadership role.

"We want to work alongside people with a disability, their organisations and other community partners to achieve better outcomes and opportunities for people in our community," he said.

"It also demonstrates that inclusion is a key part of the way we run Council and plan for the future."

Social Inclusion Strategic Reference Group member Gisele Mesnage also embraced the plan.

"As a resident with a disability, I am proud that Inner West Council has adopted this inclusion action plan," she said.

"The plan identifies key local, state, federal and global topics, with plenty of scope to develop priority policies, programs and actions that target the needs of the Inner West community.

"As the founder of the Digital Gap Initiative, I am pleased to note that digital access issues have been encompassed in the inclusion action plan."

Mr Pearson said a cornerstone of the plan is also to uphold and promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

"Council's application of the convention is about making human rights real for everyone, every day," he said.

"And in doing that, we are committed to making sure that people living with a disability have access to the full range of services and activities available to our community.

"Inclusive communities reduce isolation and disadvantage for people with a disability while increasing diversity of opportunity to truly include everyone in the community.

"Our inclusion plan is a big step forward for all our residents."

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Page last updated: 23 May 2019