A great night was had by all at the Tweed Shire Access & Inclusion Awards held last night. This is the third year for the awards, held each year on the 3rd of December – International Day of People with Disabilities.
The awards are all about recognising and acknowledging action by individuals, community groups, organisations and businesses that build and promote an accessible and inclusive Tweed community. An accessible and inclusive community means creating possibilities. It enables people to live lives according to individual interests, needs and aspirations – being able to physically move around the community and feel included as a member of the community. It involves access to buildings, festivals, events and open space such as streetscapes and parks, and inclusion in arts and culture, leisure, sports, education, employment and social life.
Graeme Innes was the keynote speaker on the night. Graeme is an international champion for people with disability. He was Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner and helped draft the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He shared stories of his and other experiences and shone a new light on the needs of people with and without disabilities.
The access award’s new patron is five-time world champion Bill Chaffey. Bill was an able-bodied triathlete when he was struck on his bike by a truck, setting him on course to become an international star in paratriathlon.
As the winner of the 2014 Access & Inclusion Award, I had the honor of giving the closing address as well as presenting the award to this year’s winner – Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners on the evening. And congratulations to all those who took part in the entertainment and organisation of the night. Another great success.