Australia is seeing increasing focus placed on the creation of inclusive communities – fully accessible to all Australians including those with a disability and the growing ageing population – and the significant cultural shift required to support a move towards fully inclusive communities.
Improved access to mainstream services for these populations, and adapted service delivery where necessary, while once the domain of the disability sector or the ageing sector, has become the responsibility of all Australians.
Urbis Public Policy has recently completed work for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services to uncover best practice when it comes to public sector planning for fully inclusive communities.
This work, centred on Disability Inclusion Action Plans – plans that public authorities are required to have by law to create inclusive communities – was the subject of a presentation delivered by Associate Director, Poppy Wise to 175 stakeholders at the LGNSW Liveable Communities Forum on Friday 12th September 2014 in Sydney.
“The Forum was an opportunity to share with key stakeholders, who will be the architects of planning and designing fully inclusive communities in NSW, what we found are the critical ingredients of best practice inclusion planning – namely integration, strong leadership and governance, genuine consultation and the opportunity to share ideas with peers.”
Reflecting on the importance of integrating inclusion planning with standard planning cycles, a NSW government stakeholder said, “As long as you have a standalone [disability inclusion action] plan, it will be a special plan for special people and not fully integrated. It should just be part of how we integrate all planning, part of the landscape planning thinking about any issue.”
The Urbis Public Policy work concluded strong inclusion plans have dual roles to play.
Externally, plans should be a strong public statement of commitment to affirm inclusion planning as central to the fabric of an organisation, and internally plans should contain a high level of operational detail – effectively becoming an instruction manual to guide design and implementation.
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