Access news

International Day of people with a disability

Inner West Council in partnership with The Other Film Festival, Mable, Ethnic community Services, Exodus Foundation, Disability Services Australia, Ability Links: Settlement Services International and Accessible Arts invite you to the International Day of People with Disability Film Festival!

This all-inclusive free event will span across two nights of film and panel discussions curated and created by and with people living with disability. The event is in celebration of International Day of People with Disability in the Inner West community.

Friday 6 December at 6pm join us for a  complimentary glass of champagne and canapes, comedy debate and feature film Sanctuary

Saturday 7 December at 7pm join us for a panel discussion on authentic representation and short film screenings.

Program (PDF 3.9MB)

Screen reader version (coming soon)

Let’s come together, support and elevate the voices of people with disability at this uniquely inclusive and accessible event at the Petersham Town Hall. Our vision is to model inclusive practice, to build a space where diversity is valued and thrives. A place of ideas, to share stories and collective experience through a celebration of film and discussion. We hope this will become a signature annual event for the Inner West that will influence local cinemas and creative venues to become more inclusive all the time.

This will be a celebration of film that is accessible for the whole community to experience. We will have audio descriptions, Auslan interpreters, closed captions, accessible seating that is not up the back, all assistance animals will be welcome, lowered counters, and a quiets zone during the films.

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

To celebrate Mental Health Month 2019

the City Wellbeing team is hosting the following

3 and 10 October Older Person’s Mental Health First Aid training  

10 October Community Picnic 12-4pm Jack Shanahan Skate park

17 October Mental Health Services Networking Event Meet Your Neighbour 9.30-12noon Ashfield Town Hall 

24 October Mad Pride Rally 2-4pm Newtown Neighbourhood Centre forecourt

and all month long the Aboriginal Active and Healthy walking group

The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020

The National Disability Strategy sets the future direction for disability policy for the next decade and beyond. A strong, considered and effective new strategy will only happen with your input, through your stories and experience.

The development of the first National Disability Strategy was the first time in Australia's history that all governments committed to a unified, national approach to improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers, and to providing leadership for a community-wide shift in attitudes. This Strategy is under review to inform the next national strategy beyond 2020.

You can participate in informing the future strategy on the  Department of Social Services survey page.

It has questions about your views on:

  • The attitudes of people towards disability
  • What things are still issues or barriers for people with disability and what has improved
  • What is important to make a national disability strategy work well.
  • The survey is available in an online version, an interactive Easy Read PDF version, and will shortly be available in an Auslan video version.

This survey will take around 20-30 minutes to complete and will be open until 5pm, Monday 10 June 2019.

Please add your feedback to this important reform.

Upcoming events

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: 18 Nov 2019