These initiatives are being delivered by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) on behalf of the Government.
What are the new initiatives under the National Disability Strategy?
- Make Local Communities Accessible for all Australians – This initiative provides $5 million in 2010-11 for grants of up to $100,000 to local governments with matched funding. This aims to make local buildings and public spaces more accessible for people with disability so they can fully participate in the community.
- An additional $1 million will be provided for digital playback devices and improved access to digital content in public libraries around the country. This aims to increase the accessibility of print material, such as books and newspapers, for people with print disability.
- Leaders for Tomorrow - A new national program to help people with disability to become leaders in business, the community and government through mentoring and leadership development. The new $3 million program will provide 12-month intensive leadership support for up to 200 people with disability over the next four years, including matching them with a mentor in their field of interest.
- Ramp Up website – $500,000 has been provided to establish a new disability website in partnership with the ABC. It will be a place for discussion, news, debate, humour and general information for everyone in Australia's disability communities. Whether you live with a disability, are a carer, work in the sector or just want to get a better picture, this is a lively community space to have your say.
The National Disability Strategy will commit all governments to a nationwide approach to improving the lives of people with disability and create a more equal society; the strategy will set out a 10-year national plan for reform, focusing on better inclusion for people with disabilities.
These new initiatives are in addition to plans to improve access for people with disability:
- The Liveable Housing Design initiative, developed with the residential building and construction industry, to promote new voluntary guidelines for housing built to meet the needs of older Australians and people with disability. $1 million will be invested over four years to work with industry to promote liveable housing.
- Cinema Access – Over four years this initiative will provide new audio description and captioning technology to improve cinema access for people who are deaf, blind, visually or hearing impaired. $470,000 has been committed to the project, with the rest of the cost to be paid by the cinemas.
In addition to the grant funding, $30,000 has been committed to subsidise the costs of a new Accessible Cinema Advisory Group (ACAG), with members from the cinema industry and the disability sector.
The funding will allow the ACAG to continue to advise and assist the cinema industry to improve cinema accessibility in Australia and monitor the implementation of the Cinema Access Implementation Plan.
What can the Accessible Communities funding be used for?
Projects which will be considered for funding
Improvements to community infrastructure, including new construction, major renovations or refurbishment of assets such as:
- Social and cultural infrastructure (e.g. art spaces, gardens, parks)
- Recreational facilities (e.g. swimming pools, sporting arenas)
- Children, youth and seniors facilities (e.g. playgroup centres, senior citizen centres, libraries)
- Access facilities (e.g. footpaths, bridges, ramps)
- Playground facilities (e.g. ramps, accessible public toilets, accessible equipment)
- Installation or upgrades to disability equipment that allows for participation in activities that would otherwise preclude people with disability, particularly children and young people (e.g. swimming pool hoists).
Projects which will not be considered for funding
Projects will not be considered for funding where they do not provide a clear and direct benefit to members of the local community within the council's jurisdiction. These include:
- Projects which support council operations (e.g. upgrade to council offices)
- Projects which provide direct benefit to private businesses, other than those which provide a direct community service
- Information Technology and Communications hardware or software
- Ongoing costs (e.g. operational costs (including staffing) and ongoing maintenance)
- Roads or related infrastructure covered by the Roads to Recovery or Black Spot programs
- Project management costs
- Non-fixed infrastructure that is not part of a building structure (e.g. above ground irrigation systems)
How will Accessible Communities be implemented?
The infrastructure grant funding will be offered competitively and be based on a matched contribution from local governments.
Each local government is permitted to submit up to two applications. Each application can be for up to $100,000 (GST-exclusive).
Each funding agreement is for a one-off amount of funding (not exceeding $100,000 in each case) based on meeting a range of criteria. Broadly, the criteria will address improvements to community infrastructure, including new construction, major renovations or refurbishment of assets.
Each local government who succeeds in gaining a funding agreement will:
- Match the FaHCSIA funding amount via a local government contribution towards the intended project;
- Commence all projects within six months and complete them within 12 months of signing the funding agreement;
- Improve accessibility to public buildings and spaces for people with disability (as approved via funding agreement); and
- Report on outcomes of the project to FaHCSIA.
Eligibility is limited to new projects (or additional stages of current projects) which have not been included in the local government's financial budget for 2010-11.
When will Accessible Communities commence?
Applications for funding will be advertised at 10.00am Monday 24 January 2011 and close at 2.00pm AEDST Friday 25 March 2011.
The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs’ (FaHCSIA’s) Accessible Communities initiative is currently open for applications. Applications for funding were due to close at 2.00pm AEDST Friday 25 February 2011.
In response to the communities affected by recent disasters and extreme weather events which have impacted on the ability of these local governments to develop and lodge an application, FaHCSIA has been asked to consider extending the closing date for Accessible Communities applications.
To ensure that the process is fair and equitable the extension will be offered to all applicants. Therefore the application period will now be extended to 2.00pm AEDST Friday 25 March 2011. Local governments that have already completed an application will be given the opportunity to resubmit by the closing date at 2.00pm AEDST Friday 25 March 2011.
How can I find out more?
If you would like more information about Accessible Communities please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the toll free number 1800 501 795 between 9.00am – 5.00pm AEDST Monday to Friday.