Access to playgrounds for children with disabilities

Andrew Reimer: Kelly Vincent, you’ve had some time off, have you?

Kelly Vincent: No, I haven’t, we’ve just had an opportunity for some other candidates in the Dignity Party to speak to you over the last couple of weeks. I’ve certainly been working hard, but giving some other candidates a chance to get to meet you and you to meet them.

Andrew Reimer: Yeah, which is great and it’s been very interesting chatting to the candidates, we’re heading into some interesting times especially with the latest Newspoll. Malcolm Turnbull, his preferred Prime Ministership status has been diminished quite considerably, Bill Shorten looking more favourable and Labor becoming more attractive to the Australian public than the Coalition how that’s going to translate when it comes to a State level, whether that’s going to have an impact on Steven Marshall, that’s going to be something to see.

Kelly Vincent: Oh this March 2018 is certainly going to be a very interesting election.  Dignity Party has a diverse range of candidates and I’m very proud to be one of those and I will certainly be focusing on the issues that matter to us and to South Australians, but beyond that, well I’m not here because of some polls, I’m just here to get the job done.

Andrew Reimer: When it comes to issues on your radar access and parking for people with disabilities is something that certainly you’re focusing on?

Kelly Vincent: Absolutely, that’s always an issue, but actually I rang up tonight to talk about access to parks as opposed to parking!  That’s because, today, Andrew, I’ve had the pleasure of attending the Hendrie Street Reserve in Park Holme where Quentin Kennihan, myself, the Minister for Disabilities, and other families and community members were “turning the sod” to start an important building project of what is going to be a great accessible playground for kids with and without disabilities, and it’s hoped it will be completed by March next year.

The Touched by Olivia Foundation, which is a foundation focusing on building accessible playgrounds, has been fundraising for this for quite a while so it’s great to see this finally getting underway and it’s going to be a big game changer for lots of kids with disabilities and their families.

Andrew Reimer: That’s really good news.

Kelly Vincent: The New South Wales Government this week announced a state-wide policy for inclusive playgrounds, as well as an audit of existing playgrounds and parks.  This is a great idea, to make sure that they’re up to scratch, enabling everyone to play and reap the health benefits of that.  We know that indoor play is associated with health issues such as vitamin D deficiency leading to bone density issues as well as diet-related issues, so really anything that we can do to encourage outdoor play – particularly for kids with disabilities who might have limited mobility or other issues that mean accessible exercise opportunities are rare – anything we can do to promote that is great.

That’s why we’ve come out this week asking the State Government to follow New South Wales’ lead and have a whole-of-state review of what facilities we do have and also where we could be doing more so all kids can have the opportunity to play and have the health and friendships and other benefits that we all know come along with that.

Andrew Reimer: Fingers crossed the Government falls into line you’ve had some success when it comes to negotiations recently $41.5 million negotiated for people with disabilities in various areas, provided you give your support to the bank tax which you’ve agreed to do as the Dignity Party can you clarify, if the bank tax doesn’t make it across the line will you still be getting that money?

Kelly Vincent: That’s right, this negotiation was contingent on my support of the bank tax, whatever the outcome is and that’s up to the Treasurer to negotiate but as far as I’m concerned it’s a big win for people with disabilities and particularly mental health issues.

Andrew Reimer: So, just because of the fact that you’ve got to support it, the people with disabilities were getting that $41.5 million regardless of the outcome, if it goes across or doesn’t go across?

Kelly Vincent: That’s right.

Andrew Reimer: Wow, that’s not a bad effort, that’s a very good effort. Do you know where it’s at though as far as the other parties minor parties and John Darley, etcetera, are they starting to think differently or not?

Kelly Vincent: The bank tax will of course be coming back in to Parliament for debate this week, and what the outcome is well I’m not privy to other discussions that other parties have had but we know it’s going to be a very tight and hopefully fruitful outcome in that debate.  The numbers are very tight and whether other members have shifted in the last few days I’m not sure, however regardless of the outcome Dignity Party has negotiated this massive win for some of the most vulnerable and often neglected members of our community.

Andrew Reimer: It’s quite interesting because there’s concerns if the bank tax were to go through the banks are saying, well jobs would be lost and all the rest of it, so it’s a delicate balance about looking after people and for those South Australians who is going to benefit and who is going to be disadvantaged as a result of it.

Kelly Vincent: That’s right and we do always need to have a balanced and forward thinking debate, because I would add that the very week that for example the National Australia Bank, the NAB, was rallying against the bank tax they also posted a record profit and laid off 6,000 jobs.  I don’t think it’s quite as one-sided as the banks would have us believe, but you’re quite right, it is important to have a debate about potential outcomes.

Andrew Reimer: Yeah talk to you again soon.