In the Media

Kelly Vincent – 5AA Interview on the Accessible Beach Day at Henley Beach and the NDIS

Andrew Reimer:  Kelly Vincent is going to give us an update on some pretty exciting things in particular to do with access to beaches…


Kelly Vincent: It was a beautiful day down at Henley Beach where the City of Charles was hosting an accessible beach day. There was a beach mat which is a rubber matting that pretty much goes all the way down to the edge of the water so that people who either use wheelchairs or walking frames or might just be unsteady on their feet and can’t walk on soft sand can get down to the water and they also had a few different models of beach wheelchairs that can actually go all the way into the water as well. Just for one example I saw a gentleman there on one of the floating wheelchairs and someone was telling me that was the first time in his life, which is 34 years, that he’s ever been in the ocean, so really amazing stuff.


Andrew Reimer: What’s amazing is the push to get those accessible mats which you were working on that last year and now it seems to have gathered momentum?


Kelly Vincent: This began with the beach mat at Seacliff which was done by a variety of groups including a parliamentary colleague of mine, David Speirs, and a local surf lifesaving group at Seacliff. We’d love to do this at every beach so we’ve been continually contacting every council with a beach in their area to make sure they do have this on their agenda and it does look like an increasing number of councils are picking this up as a result so it’s really fantastic to see. This is such a simple thing that we can do to make the community more accessible to everyone and it’s not just people who use wheelchairs, it’s people who might be older or even parents with prams who want to take their young kids down onto the sand so it’s a really worthwhile investment and of course the tourism opportunities that this could bring as well because we know that generally when people with disabilities travel we tend to travel in larger groups so it allows us to bring our friends and family with us as well. So it’s a very worthwhile investment and I really congratulate the City of Charles Sturt and all the great volunteers that were coordinating the use of the mat and the chairs as well, such a simple thing but a lot of organising has to go into it, so really thank everyone for getting it done.


Andrew Reimer: Angela Evans, the Mayor of City of Charles Sturt, she was there too?


Kelly Vincent: I think I’d left by the time Angela arrived and it started to rain but she was there. It’s really great to see anyone getting involved and advocating for this great improvement to our community so everyone can enjoy something that so many people take for granted until they themselves have a disability or an injury or are getting older so any advocate for this I think is welcome either from Local Government or State Parliament or otherwise.


Andrew Reimer: Any more news on the NDIS?


Kelly Vincent: A review is continuing to proceed. We’re keeping a very close eye on this and we also I think have some concerns particularly around people with psycho-social disability or mental health issues as they’re more commonly known as to whether the eligibility criteria may cut out some people with mental health issues from the NDIS so this is an issue that we’re working on very closely and also looking at how guardianship of young people, particularly people with very complex disabilities, maybe a combination of disability and mental health issues will work under the NDIS when it comes to child protection in that area as well. So a number of areas that we continue to lobby on and to keep a very close eye on and I’ll keep you informed as they roll out.


Andrew Reimer: Thank you very much.


Kelly Vincent: Pleasure.