Swinburne launches AccessAbility Action Plan

Wednesday 3 December 2014

The east side of the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre building captured during a sunset.

To coincide with International Day of People with Disability - a day which aims to promote understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being - Swinburne University of Technology has launched its AccessAbility Action Plan.

An advisory group comprised of representatives from across Swinburne’s staff and student body has overseen the development of the AccessAbility Action Plan.

The plan will see issues of disability included in curriculum to make students aware of the challenges that people in the community may face and to make them more equipped to deal with diversity in the workplace.

“Today is an opportunity to pause and remember the challenges that many face in contributing in the workplace and participating fully in different aspects of community life,” Swinburne President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Linda Kristjanson said.

“Many of us have direct personal experience with people who manage life with a disability, and many people work with colleagues who are living with and adjusting to disabilities.

“It is important that we consider how our university accommodates people with various abilities and allows us to become a more inclusive, tolerant and caring organisation. 

“We are all very much dependent on the teamwork and cooperation of each other to fulfil our roles and contribute fully.  Today we are prompted to recognise our interdependence on each other and reaffirm our willingness to facilitate a supportive environment that recognises the potential of everyone.”

More than four million Australians live with disability, the majority of which (88%) are not visible. Approximately 3.4 million have a physical disability – respiratory disorders such as asthma, neurological disorders (e.g., MS, cerebral palsy or epilepsy), musculoskeletal disorders (e.g., arthritis or spinal injuries, immunological disorders (e.g. HIV/AIDS), diabetes, kidney disease or cancer.

Approximately 350,000 Australians have a significant vision impairment that is not correctable by glasses, with approximately 20,000 identified as totally blind. It is estimated that around 650,000 Australians have an intellectual impairment, and 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

To be disability confident means that Swinburne:

  • understands how disability affects every aspect of our university – our staff, students and visitors;
  • provides support for our students and staff who are living with disability and carers;
  • creates an inclusive and diverse culture that provides opportunity for people living with disability; and
  • makes reasonable adjustments to enable individuals living with disability to access, participate and contribute on an equal basis.

You can view the AccessAbility Action Plan here.