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Views Wanted On Disabilities And Access

Society's attitudes towards people with disabilities are often the real problem for them, says a draft policy on access and equity for people with disabilities.

The Christchurch City Council decided last May to produce a draft policy. Since then, organisations and individuals have provided input to the development of the policy and now the Council is seeking wider community views on the draft.

A questionnaire has been produced for responses, which are needed by 20 February.

The draft policy says the Council will develop disability awareness programmes at all levels within Council and will initiate information campaigns concerning issues for people with disabilities. The Council is committed to removing the barriers to full participation and contribution to community life for everyone.

The policy will convey the message that people with disabilities are citizens with the same rights and obligations as others, thus justifying measures to remove all obstacles to full participation.

Physical barriers, such as steps to the entrance to a shop, or information not available on tape are examples of the problems faced by people who have physical disabilities.

It is important to ensure that the Council addresses the existing barriers to participation and promotes access and equity for all in any future developments.

"The Council is committed to taking action to raise awareness about people experiencing disabilities, their rights, their needs, their potential and their contribution," says the draft policy.

Christchurch City Council http://www.ccc.govt.nz

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