Making a difference for people with disability
Published on 06 February 2024
Tim Harte loves seeing access and inclusion for people with disability considered ‘from the get-go’ in projects across his community.
It is part of the rich personal reward he takes away from volunteering as a member and chair of Surf Coast Shire Council’s All Abilities Advisory Committee.
The voluntary committee provides advice which helps Council realise its goals of making sure all people regardless of their abilities can be part of their community, access services they need and be included.
Council is seeking people with lived experience of disability to consider joining the committee and supporting its important work.
“It’s a really positive way to give back to my local community and make sure Council facilities and programs are accessible and inclusive of the whole community,” Tim said.
“I’m always learning something from the conversations we have.
“And it is rewarding seeing projects achieve better outcomes and save money because they have had lived experience put in from the start, and access and inclusion has been considered from the get-go.”
The All Abilities Advisory Committee has run since 2002 and includes community members, Council staff and a Councillor representative. Committee members represent people with disability who live, work, study or play in Surf Coast Shire.
Tim, from Gnarwarre and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, joined the committee in March 2022 and became chair in December 2022.
“I’d say get involved, it is a really lovely community and a friendly collegiate atmosphere. The time commitment is meeting once every second month and it is a really good way to be involved and give back to our community,” he said.
Cr Rose Hodge hailed the All Abilities Advisory Committee’s contribution to improving access and inclusion across the shire.
“It would be impossible to measure the meaningful contributions committee members have made to Council projects, planning and to the lives of others across the past two decades,” Cr Hodge said.
“I encourage people with lived experience of disability to consider nominating for the committee and helping to ensure that this purposeful work continues.”
People can make expressions of interest in joining the committee via www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/Community/AAAC or by phoning 5261 0600 and asking for the Access and Inclusion officer. Expressions of interest are open until 23 February.