The team (L-R) Hannah Baxter, Annelise Adam, Riley Lunn, Campbell Fraser, Elijah Halliday and Patrick Bunney. Photo: Matthew Fletcher.
By Rob Harrison
A joint student team from Donvale Christian College (DCC) and YMCA Manningham have successfully passed a Bill to increase disability access for Victorian buildings at the 2018 YMCA Youth Parliament of Victoria.
The team’s Bill was created to promote a more equitable environment with easier access for those living with a disability.
“Our society cannot continue to ignore the fundamental rights of the disabled members of the community,” Ms. Adam said.
“Hence, we want to acknowledge their needs so all can enjoy everything Victoria has to offer,” Mr. Halliday added.
Over 4 million people in Australia live with a disability. Yet many members of this community find it challenging or impossible to access certain spaces in Victoria.
Young Parliamentarian Mr Fraser said an increased accessibility of buildings is a huge topic within the Victorian community.
“It doesn’t make ethical or economic sense that over 4 million people don’t have proper access to buildings in Australia,” he said.
As someone with a physical disability, Mr Fraser has experienced firsthand the lack of proper disability access in buildings.
“My Dad’s workplace can be a nightmare for me to visit as it has 3 flights of stairs and no lift,” he said.
The DCC team’s Bill will replace existing legislation on disability access with changes including adding penalties for building owners over a lack of disabled accessibility and altering the criteria for which buildings can be exempt.
The Bill will now be passed onto the relevant minister for consideration.
The Youth Parliament is a program run by YMCA which aims to empower young people by giving them a platform to raise issues that are important to them. In its 32 year history, 25 Youth Parliament Bills have become Victorian legislation.