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Community Disability Understanding Disability Inclusion

Understanding Disability and Inclusion

The late journalist, disability advocate and comedienne Stella Young explained this way of understanding disability:

My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair, but because the broader environment isn’t accessible.

Stella Young

This social model of disability understands that the community is made up of people with many abilities.

Many of them have to deal with barriers. Barriers limit some peoples’ ability to join fully in the community.

Barriers can be in:

  • streets, parks and buildings
  • websites and other information
  • hard to hear events
  • public meetings
  • programs
  • policies
  • recruitment
  • community’s attitudes

In Australia, almost 18% of people live with disability (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Summary of Findings - 2018 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) Reference No. 4430.0).

Vision Impaired Youth Leading The Way

City of Salisbury residents Sarah, Tatt, and Jordy are partnering with Council and See Differently to raise awareness about vision impairment.

Together with the City of Salisbury, they've crafted a video promoting considerate interactions with vision-impaired individuals. The video, depicting real-life scenarios, advocates practices like turning off vehicles in driveways, announcing presence when passing, and avoiding contact with guide dogs.

Available to watch below, the campaign urges community members to adopt these thoughtful behaviors. With a central message of "If in doubt, it's always okay to ask," the initiative aims to enhance inclusivity and independence, fostering a more mindful and supportive community for those with vision impairment.


Some people need better access. 4.4% of people with disability use a wheelchair. 31% of people with disability require better access in buildings, streets and parks.


But 90% of disability can’t be seen. All people with disability can help the community if allowed to do so. The 2009 report on the national consultation about a disability strategy included this quote from a submission which could be about any person with disability:

“The greatest barrier facing people with Down Syndrome is not their intellectual disability but confronting negative attitudes, overcoming outdated stereotypes and challenging the limitations placed on them by others. What they lack is not ability but opportunity”

Source: (“Shut Out- The experience of people with disabilities and their families in Australia: National Disability Strategy Consultation Report”, National People with Disabilities and Carers Council, FaHCSIA, Canberra, 2009), Page 11.

All people with disability can expect Council to remove barriers and make it easier to get on with their lives in the wider community.

Salisbury Council is committed to providing equal access for all residents to participate in the community and to Council's facilities and services, through the development of policies, procedures and practices which are responsive to their specific requirements whatever their race, culture, religion, language, age or gender.

Learn more about Council's disability and access initiatives.

Get in touch

You are invited to contact the City of Salisbury on 8406 8222 or via our online form to point out difficulties caused by lack of access in Council buildings, footpaths, parks and services.

By contacting Council, you can find out more about access improvements and how to be part of making these improvements happen.