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Perth Theatre Trust releases new Disability Access and Inclusion Plan

Perth Theatre Trust releases new Disability Access and Inclusion Plan
May 9, 2013

The Perth Theatre Trust (PTT) has released its new Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP), welcoming people with a disability, their carers and families to the Trust's facilities, services and employment.

A statutory authority established and constituted under the Perth Theatre Trust Act 1979 (the Act), the PTT is responsible for the care, control, management, maintenance, operation and improvement of the five venues: His Majesty's Theatre (owned by the Western Australian Government); the Perth Concert Hall (leased from the City of Perth); the Subiaco Arts Centre (leased from the City of Subiaco); the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia (owned by the Western Australian Government) and the Albany Entertainment Centre (owned by the Western Australian Government).

AEG Ogden, under contract with PTT, manages the venues. 

The DAIP identifies areas and strategies where access and inclusion can be improved. These strategies work towards a number of access and inclusion outcomes. 

The six access and inclusion outcome areas aim to provide a means of ensuring that people with disability: 

• Have the same opportunities as other people to access the services of, and any events organised by, the relevant public authority. 
• Have the same opportunities as other people to access the buildings and other facilities of the relevant public authority. 
• Receive information from the relevant public authority in a format that will enable them to access the information as readily as other people are able to access it. 
• Receive the same level and quality of service from the staff of the relevant public authority as other people receive from the staff of that authority. 
• Have the same opportunities as other people to make complaints to the relevant public authority. 
• Have the same opportunities as other people to participate in any public consultation by the relevant public authority. 

In addition to these six standards, the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts (WADCA), as the employer, includes an additional outcome for people with a disability to have the same opportunities as other people to obtain and maintain employment.

The new DAIP builds on the work already achieved through previous DAIPs and has been developed from findings from a public consultation process that indicated that progress has 
been made toward achieving the outcomes of the previous DAIP (which covered the period 2007 to 2012). 

Despite this, the feedback highlighted barriers that continue to prevent people with disability accessing arts and cultural services, events, information and facilities.

Helen Errington, the facilitator engaged to undertake the consultation in September 2012, suggested the following as key issues in the consultation process. (It should be noted that the feedback incorporates all the portfolio agencies and may not specifically refer to PTT). 

1. Staff Training
There needs to be a greater commitment by the portfolio to provide regular and ongoing disability awareness training particularly in relation to their obligations under the respective DAIPs.

The training should focus on the:

• Diversity of disability groups
• Needs and inclusion of people with multiple and severe disability
• Protocols of relating to people with disability
• Inclusion of people with disability, and / or their associates in the capacity of leading part, or all of the delivery of training

2. Programming
Arts organisations are not catering for certain categories of disability with events, exhibitions and programs offered by culture and the arts agencies needing to be inclusive of a much wider range of people with a disability. 

People and, in particular, children with Autism, Bi-polar disorder, intellectual disability and people with multiple disabilities are often excluded from participating due to a lack of knowledge by arts organisations on how to accommodate their complex needs.

Publically funded events, exhibitions and programs should be held in accessible venues. 

Exhibitions need to consider lighting arrangements and levels, height of display cabinets, signage and the importance of technology in providing universal access.

Event organisers should be more flexible in meeting the needs of parents with children with disability. For example, age registrations should not apply for children with an intellectual disability. 

It is also important that children with disability are integrated as much as possible into programs and events. They should not be treated differently unless the different treatment is in order to treat them equally.

3. Physical access to all venues
With the advent of the new Disability (Access to Premises-Building) Standards in May 2011 it is imperative that all new buildings and refurbishments funded by DCA adhere strictly to these requirements. 

The newly built State Theatre Centre, while meeting the standards in force when it was built has a number of design shortcomings that make it undignified and difficult for people with disability to participate. In addion,merely complying with access standards may not be enough. 

Therefore, in the future the WADCA needs to ensure that:

• Architects and planners consult early with accredited access consultants to ensure the plans rigorously comply with the new Access Standards and that they are not compromised by any funding constraints.
• Architects and planners should work with people with disability to ensure universal way finding. People with disability should not be made to feel different by forcing them to access venues by a very different route than able bodied people. 

Universal access should be integrated with other access where possible. It won't just be people with disability that use this access - plenty of people like using ramps and big lifts (for example people with prams).

• Toilet facilities are built to facilitate the use of large motorised wheelchairs and able to accommodate carers as well as the person with disability and have adult-sized change tables.
• Parking facilities for events are able to accommodate vehicles requiring a ceiling height of 2.7 metres and are wider than the normal ACROD parking space. 

4. Consultation Process
The consultation process needs to be simplified and broadened to reach a more diverse range of people with disability. The feedback suggested that as part of a suite of measures for consultation the portfolio could:

• Extend the time frames for the consultation period.
• Be flexible in how agencies consult. Tailor the format and venue of the consultation to the target audience. Visit people in their homes, at their organisations, and where they regularly meet (for example classes).
• Liaise with Local Area Coordinators who meet regularly with people with disability.
• Consider how social media can be used to simplify the consultation process.
• Use established networks to get information out to people with disability. 

5. Employment of people with disability
In an effort to increase the employment of people with disability, WADCA is currently developing a Strategic Workforce Plan, with new targets and strategies for the employment of people with disability.

6. Alternative formats
Not enough is being done to make publications available in alternate formats and, or at an appropriate content level for people with learning or intellectual disability.

Plain English versions of key relevant documents should be available alongside 'government-speak' versions. Published DAIPs, the WADCA Grants Handbook, and Grants Application Form are examples of documents that should be available in plain English.

When targeting people with disability a broader range of alternative formats should be made available, for example Auslan and audio versions. Whether a document is made available in alternative format up-front or on request should be determined by the content of the document and the targeted audience. If the target audience is people with disability then alternative formats should be considered up-front.

7. Intersections of disability
Disability intersects with other factors that compound marginalisation, for example aging, aboriginality, ethnicity, and / or preferred language. 

There is also a greater demand by people with more complex needs to be recognised and included in the community. These factors should be considered when looking at the design of facilities and services and choosing venues. 

By catering to the most complex or challenging disability the needs of many will be covered. 

The document is also available in alternative formats by contacting PTT on 08 6552 7300, E: info@ptt.wa.gov.au

28th April 2013 - STATE THEATRE CENTRE AT FOREFRONT OF PERTH’S GOLDEN AGE OF ARTS

27th January 2011 - STATE THEATRE CENTRE OF WA OFFICIALLY OPENED

14th December 2010 - ALBANY ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE OFFICIALLY OPENED 

14th September 2010 - HIGH-POWERED ARTS LOBBY FOR WA 

12th August 2009 - WA ARTS BRACED FOR TOUGH TIMES 

19th August 2008 - TICKETEK AND NINEMSN TO INTEGRATE 

10th November 2008 - SICO INNOVATION IN DISABLED STAGE ACCESS 


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The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

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