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Planning, Climate and Transport – shared priorities from people with disability for the 2024 ACT election

Published on May 1, 2024

Canberra disability groups have released their first platform for the coming ACT election with shared priorities on planning, transport and climate change being released at an online forum being co-hosted with the Inner South Canberra Community Council.   

The platform seeks an integrated and thoughtful response to challenges to access to basic municipal, private and public goods including the urban realm, transport, paths of travel, energy, heated and cooled spaces and accessible products are being challenged.     

It recognises that access to the urban realm and transport is increasingly precarious for some people with disabilities in our city. Issues include rapid development, the proliferation of shared zones and e scooters, the growth of ridesharing and unhelpful changes in vehicle design.   

The Platform calls for a new social planning unit to lead with a rolling program of audits and accessibility improvements, small grants for accessibility focused on older areas and support to enable community councils and disability organisations to engage on municipal improvement.  

It also calls for changes to the wheelchair accessible taxi fleet, a firm timetable for the complete replacement of older Canberra Renault buses, improvements to accessible information and guaranteed funding for community transport.  We also call for better regulation of ridesharing apps and micro-mobility devices.   

A business case for free public transport should be developed to recognise the considerable contribution of low incomes and poverty to transport disadvantage, especially for people with disability.   

The platform also addresses the need for responses to climate change.   It seeks actions to ensure that government policies for waste reduction, energy transition and climate change meet the needs of people with disabilities. This includes a summit to agree a set of disability focused just transition principles plus a work program to push industry to ensure newer devices and electric vehicles are accessible.   

A heat wave strategy for people with disability and chronic illness would include a program to install reverse cycle air conditioning in the home of every frail and disabled public housing tenant by 2026.   

The shared platform is issued by Advocacy for Inclusion, Women with Disabilities ACT, Mental Health Community Coalition ACT and ACT Down Syndrome and Intellectual Disability.  It’s also endorsed by ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy (ADACAS), the Inner South Canberra Community Council, Living Streets Canberra and the ACT Council of Social Services (ACTCOSS)