Local Governments recognised in 2023 Australian Access Awards

Published on:
Wednesday, 15 November, 2023
WALGA updates

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River, the City of Joondalup and the City of Cockburn have all been announced as finalists in the Australian Access Awards.

The Australian Access Awards have been recognising organisations and individuals demonstrating an extraordinary commitment and delivering exceptional outcomes for Australians living with disability since 2019.

The City of Joondalup - Initiative of the Year

The City of Joondalup was named as a finalist in the Initiative of the Year category, for their partnership with APM to establish a Beach Access Working Group.

The Beach Access Working Group aims to work with the local community to improve accessibility for the beaches from Sorrento to Burns Beach. The group brings together a group of diverse stakeholders operating in the northern suburbs with an interest in increasing the accessibility of the beaches in the Northern Corridor.

The Beach Access Working Group aims to increase the accessibility of beaches through initiatives such as advocating for better access through increased availability and maintenance of equipment and facilities. This includes matting and beach wheelchairs, parking, toilets and change rooms.

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River and the City of Cockburn - Government website of the Year 

The City of Cockburn and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River were both recognised in the Government Website of the Year category, open to any Australian Federal, State or Local Government department or entity with a ‘.gov.au’ domain.

Augusta Margaret River focus on collaboration 

Shire of Augusta Margaret River Customer Experience Coordinator Cristina Smith said recognition of the site showed the value of collaboration and partnering with a wide variety of community members and staff throughout all stages of the website’s design and development.

“As a government organisation, we need to design with everyone’s needs in mind. This not only means considering people with physical, neurological, cognitive, and learning disabilities, but also things like ensuring pages load quickly so people with slow internet connectivity in parts of our shire can access information,” Cristina said.

“A driving philosophy and approach for this project was to involve people that will be using the website, right from the start. Almost 300 community members and staff took part in shaping the site via surveys, online testing and one-on-one usability testing sessions, to help us ensure it would meet the needs of the people it was intended for.”

Cockburn guided by Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP)

City of Cockburn Disability Access and Inclusion Officer Ben Rowe said planning for the City’s website accessibility started many years ago when the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) mandated the employment of an accessibility consultant when the City created its new website in 2016.

“One Outcome listed in the DAIP is that people with disability receive information from the City in a format that will enable them to access it as readily as other people,” Mr Rowe said.

“We do this by continuing to improve the website and mobile accessibility in line with W3C recommendations, and considering accessibility when procuring new software, hardware and other City systems.”

Winners will be announced on Wednesday 22 November, at a ceremony at ANZAC House.

Western Australian Local Governments have a legislative requirement under the Disability Services Act 1993 to develop and implement a DAIP.

Update: Congratulations to the City of Cockburn who were awarded both overall and Government website of the year award at the event!

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