In the Media

Kelly Vincent – Vision Australia Interview on Seacliff Beach Access Ramp

On Wednesday 27th January 2016, Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent was interviewed on radio station Vision Australia to discuss the new access ramp that was rolled out at Seacliff Beach on Australia Day. Here is the audio and transcript of the interview.

Pam Green: Time to welcome to 5RPH, Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent. Hi Kelly.

Kelly Vincent: Hi Pam.

Pam Green: Well over the weekend we saw people with disabilities now having access to the actual water’s edge at Seacliff beach. Thanks to a specially designed plastic mat, can you tell us about that?

Kelly Vincent: Sure, well this is really the first of its kind, certainly in South Australia and perhaps even in Australia country wide. This is a rubber mat which has been laid down at Seacliff to give people who are either using wheelchairs or walkers or another type of mobility aid. But this will assist not only people with disabilities but people who might be elderly and have less balance to walk in the sand or even parents with prams can now access the sand and the beach via this 100 metre long rubber mat that’s been laid down at Seacliff beach in the last two days. So it’s a really fantastic step forward for some people, this might even be the first time that they’re able to access the beach in this way and judging from the comments and likes I’ve seen on social media in the last few days, it will certainly be a tourist attraction as well. So it’s about reaping both the social and economic benefits of fully including all people in our community.

Pam Green: How did it come about? Is it a first in South Australia?

Kelly Vincent: Yes I understand that it is. I know that an organisation that I’m involved with, Motivation Australia have previously put a temporary mat down at Aldinga beach for one of their annual fundraising walks. But this is a bit different and it’s a little bit more permanent than that. I think it is a first of its kind. I am pleased to acknowledge the work of my parliamentary colleague, the local MP for the electorate of Bright, David Speirs who coordinated an online fundraising effort to raise the funds for the 100 metre long, $10,000 mat. Local service groups such as the rotary club and local council I believe also chipped in and it was great to see a combination of service providers and community members coming together to recognise why this is so important and this outcome is really wonderful.

Pam Green: So there will be more mats available now?

Kelly Vincent: Well, I’m working on it Pam. Certainly similar mats are already used on beaches interstate and overseas and of course now here at Seacliff beach, but we are yet to see the idea being taken up by other Australian councils. I’m very much looking forward to working on that and improving that. I’m in conversations and contacting several clubs and councils at the moment to find out where there might be the best place to place the next one. So I look forward to keeping you and your listeners updated on that because as I said judging from the reaction in the last few days, there’s a lot of support to see this provided in more beaches.

Pam Green: Have you checked it out yourself yet Kelly?

Kelly Vincent: Look, I haven’t yet, I haven’t yet had the chance to. But I’m very much looking forward to it. As I understand it the mat will need to be rolled out, I think on a daily basis by the volunteers at the Surf Lifesaving Club and at the moment it will only happen on weekends and public holidays until March. Then I think there will be break until November because obviously the weather and conditions at the beach is something to take into account. So obviously it’s not a perfect solution and there’s still some barriers till full inclusion, but as long as we keep campaigning to get these available more permanently and to see them provided at more beaches. So anyone who does use it or wants to use it, contact the council and let them know what days work best and perhaps that will help them to figure out the best move forward and make sure a ramp is more permanently available. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more people use it and getting down there myself.

Pam Green: I think it’s a great idea. Once again, thanks for your time today Kelly.

Kelly Vincent: Thanks Pam.