In the Media

Beach Mats in Whyalla

By Louis Mayfield | Whyalla News

ACCESS to the beach for those who use a wheelchair will now be much easier thanks to a beach access mat being funded by the state government.

Local twins Zia and Cyanne Westerman campaigned tirelessly for the mat, submitting their idea to the state government’s Fund My Neighbourhood program in 2017.

The idea did not get funded through that program but has now been given the full funding of $37,000 from the state government.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the beach mats would help those with disabilities access the beach and the water in a way the rest of us take for granted.

“The funding is not just for the mat, it’s also for it to be secure and kept in place where it can be accessed by people. Obviously it’s a large piece of equipment, it’s needs to be stored so it’s easily accessible,” he said.

“This is a great example of a community campaign that’s actually been successful. It’s a really powerful idea which has solid community support.” Mr Weatherill said many people were becoming more aware of the barriers those with disabilities face.

Whyalla Access Group member Rachel Barlow, whose son Jacob lives with Down Syndrome, was very excited to see the mat funded.

“Any type of pram or wheelchair will be able to go down the mat as is, no one will have to be transferred. They’ll be able to have a stroll on the beach like the rest of us,” she said.