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Councils role in creating inclusive communities

Councils play key role in creating inclusive communities

The Human Rights Commission commends local authorities for the active role they are playing in creating accessible and inclusive communities for disabled people.

Friday 3 December is the International Day of Disabled People and both the Auckland and Manukau City Councils are holding events to promote awareness of the barriers faced by disabled people and their city’s efforts to reduce them.

Human Rights Commissioner Warren Lindberg says the work of local authorities is vital in recognising the right of disabled people to full participation in the life of their community and making accessible and inclusive communities a reality for disabled people.

“There is a range of issues which councils can address by working in partnership with disabled people. These include improving participation in the democratic process and decision making, providing information in accessible formats as well as offering accessible facilities, spaces and services such as transport.”

Auckland City Council has developed partnerships with the disability community and will be celebrating these under the banner, “100% Accessible Auckland”. A free lunchtime event is being held in Aotea Square on Friday including performances, speeches and a demonstration of Stagecoach's new accessible Link Bus.

Manukau City Council will launch its Disability Policy and Action Plan for 2004/05 on Saturday 4 December. The launch will feature speeches by Sir Barry Curtis, Mayor of Manukau and the Hon Ruth Dyson, Minister for Disability Issues. The Human Rights Commission will also be represented.

In September 2003 the Commission initiated its Inquiry into Accessible Public Land Transport for disabled people. After the release of a consultation report in September last year, the Commission received more than 120 submissions and held hearings throughout the country in September and October this year. A report presenting the Commission’s findings and draft recommendations will be released in early 2005.

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