Ausnew Home Care News | Disability group hoping to encourage Tasmania

Disability group hoping to encourage Tasmania's tourism industry to be more accessible to everyone

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The ground below Mole Creek in Tasmania's north is home to a stunning karst system of caves, sinkholes and gorges.

Cave guide Deb Hunter takes visitors into the hidden world underground, focussing on the undeveloped caves.

"We can go further than just an entrance view," she said.

"We can go and see glow worms, we can see running streams and ancient forms of animals that are found nowhere else in the world."

Ms Hunter found out as an adult that she was high functioning on the autism spectrum.

Now she is working towards expanding her tour offering to open up the world underground to people with learning disorders or other disabilities.

"I'm talking about one-on-one tours with an expert speleologist, somebody that can share their passion like any other tourist would want to."

Wheelchair. Ausnew Home Care, NDIS registered provider, My Aged Care
Tasmania has the highest rate of disability in Australia, at around a quarter of the population.(

Stock.xchng: cuervo


Ms Hunter's desire to make her tourism business more inclusive is something community organisation Disability Voices Tasmania wants to see across the state.

A group of people with disabilities has been meeting virtually over the past few months, aiming to improve accessibility on transport and at popular sites and accommodation.

Matty Wright, the office coordinator for Disability Voices Tasmania, said the project was aimed at helping tourism operators understand the potential economic benefits of improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

"Due to COVID-19 Tasmania's tourism industry has taken a huge hit," they said.

"And we thought that a really great way to help Tasmania rebuild would be to give our insight and expertise to tourism operators so that they could increase their market."

Matty Wright looks at the camera.
Matty Wright is working on Disability Voices Tasmania's inclusive tourism project.(

ABC News: Selina Ross


Tasmania has the highest rate of disability in Australia, at around a quarter of the population.

"It's about making it normal for people to come into a place and be able to ask for something and that be accepted and welcomed."

The group's ideas and experiences will be turned into a film for tourism operators to help them understand how they can make their offerings more inclusive.

A filmmaker has been selected and the group will apply for grants to fund production.

Mx Wright said they wanted operators to understand that making destinations more accessible benefited the wider community, including families with young children and older travellers.

"What we're hoping to be able to bring to tourism operators is that knowledge, that experience, that wisdom that only people with disability can provide," they said.

"There is room for improvement and we hope to show those tourism operators how they could do that."

David Cawthorn looks at the camera.
David Cawthorn joined the inclusive tourism project to share his experiences as a Tasmanian wheelchair user.(

ABC News: Selina Ross


Hobart man David Cawthorn joined the project to share his experiences as a wheelchair user.

"In accommodation, it's usually either a door or a step into the shower.

"And with bars, some bars turn their disabled toilet into storage because they don't think that people with a disability need to go to the toilet and they don't go out enough.

"It makes it a big logistical nightmare."

Mr Cawthorn said he hoped the project would lead to positive change.

"We want to get out there as much as anybody else does, we want to be able to get out and enjoy all the attractions and be able to stay where we can," he said.

Gary Ashdown looks at the camera.
Gary Ashdown made sure his Tasmanian bed and breakfast accommodation was accessible for people using mobility aids.(

ABC News: Selina Ross


When Gary Ashdown set about renovating his bed and breakfast at Dover, in the state's far south, a friend who was paraplegic urged him to make it accessible.

They modified the bathrooms, adding rails, ensuring light switches and taps were easy to reach and the shower entrance was flat.

"Every building should be accessible," Mr Ashdown said.

"There are some constraints with older historic buildings, but if anybody is building a place or modernising or renovating a place now, just do it."


Source: ABC

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