Diversity and inclusion: why don’t they care?

A bearded man in a white shirt leans back from his desk and computer. He is laughing and has a sticker on his forehead that reads, be happy.The Fifth Estate has published a very interesting article titled, Why people hate on diversity and inclusion (and how to get them not to). It’s by the CEO of Diversity Council Australia, Lisa Annese. She argues that when diversity and inclusion fall on certain ears it raises hackles as being a problem. She quotes David Gaider, “Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally.” Annese discusses the research that shows the more diverse a company’s workforce, the more satisfied the whole workplace is, and that leads to improved productivity. It should also lead to better service for their customers. They are a diverse lot too!


GAATES Access consulting certification

Picture of a check list with Exceptional, Exceeds Requirements, Meets RequirementsThe Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), an international leader in the field of accessibility, has launched their International Certification of Accessibility Consultants – Built Environment (ICAC-BE) program. The key point from the media release is that almost anyone can present themselves as an access expert. This internationally recognised certification program will help validate those who have such expertise. The following is from their media release, with links to other pages for more information. They have included the concept of universal design in their processes.

“Significant time and contributions from recognized global industry leaders has resulted in the development of the first ever international-level certification program for built environment accessibility experts. The lack of a certification program has allowed people with little or no training or expertise to present themselves as accessibility experts. This has led to uneven and sometimes inadequate costly design solutions.

The identified need for validation of those working in the field was recognized by GAATES who has filled an important gap in the industry. Following internationally established certification protocols (ISO/IEC 17024:2012: Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons), a global panel of experts assesses the qualifications and interviews applicants. Evaluators have international experience in public, private and social sectors, and represent a worldwide vision of what constitutes a Universally Designed and accessible built environment. The evaluation is based on both regional practices and international ISO standards.

The program determines whether applications qualify for one of three levels of competency and confirms those professionals who are actively developing universally designed, accessible, and inclusive built environments for everyone, including persons with disabilities and older persons.

International certification will allow those working as accessibility consultants to demonstrate their expertise and it will provide them with a significant business advantage.  Interested applicants are encouraged to contact GAATES to review further details of the program. Please visit our website at www.gaates.org/certification. GAATES’ Program Coordinator may be contacted with specific questions and to begin the application process: certification@gaates.org  


No More Missed Business

Front cover of the Missed Business guide showing an empty car park and an empty accessible car spaceThe Missed Business booklet originally devised by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Marrickville Council has been updated by the NSW Business Chamber. On the positive, it gives key messages in simple sentences and information is presented on three pages with lots of graphics. The layout is designed for two page spread so font is small for online reading. Nevertheless it is good to see this publication appear again. It is aimed at small businesses. There are links to additional documents. You can access the guide online or by downloading the PDF document directly. Lane Cove Council, and Macarthur, have developed their own similar guides with a little more information. Check you local council too. For more on customer service and digital access, see the Human Rights Commission’s additional booklet, Access for all: Improving accessibility for consumers with disability (2016).


Urban design and social responsiveness

A distance pic of a three column building in Singapore with trees and people in the foregroundThe article outlines a method for assessing accessibility and useability of environments. Apart from the method, the results support many other papers on this topic. Top of the list is footpaths followed by seating for resting. Concerns over the mix of cyclists and pedestrians and good lighting also feature. Text is illustrated with several photos. The title of the paper is, The Methodology for Evaluating Accessibility as a Tool for Increasing  Social Responsiveness or Urban Landscapes in Singapore

Editor’s note: It still comes back to the basic five key features, footpaths, seating, lighting, wayfinding and toilets that I identified while working for COTA NSW. Not sure how much evidence needs to be collected before urban planners get the message. 


Liveable Housing – your opinion counts

facade of a double fronted two storey home with grand entrance. A McMansionAustralian Network for Universal Housing Design (ANUHD) continues to advocate for all new homes to be accessible. They have a quick survey that will help identify:

  • the difficulties (if any) in finding liveable /universally designed housing
  • the cost and benefit to Australian society in providing universally designed features in all new housing
  • the features that should be in a Livable Standard for all new housing to be accessible/universally designed

As a result of ANUHD’s advocacy, the Australian Building Codes Board will be conducting a Regulatory Impact Assessment to see if access features should be included in the National Construction Code. Part of that process is to assess the need for accessibility. The information from the survey will help inform the discussion paper due out early next year. Please distribute through your networks.


ACAA Newsletter

Front cover of the latest newsletter from ACAA. it shows a man clad in leather just about to get on his motor bike.The Association of Consultants in Access Australia’s latest online newsletter has an interesting article on the history of the access movement in Australia. The other item of interest is titled Blind Speed – the story of a man who lost his sight some time ago, but has become a leader in the field of various sports. He aims to claim the record for the fastest speed on a motorbike – blindfolded! It also has a wrap up of their recent conference in Brisbane, and the inaugural Max Murray oration. There are items of additional interest for access consultants.  


International Conference on Transport & Health

Banner for call for abstracts for the International Conference on Transport and HealthThere’s a second call for abstracts for the International Conference on Transport and Health. Have a look at how many topics are covered! It’s just about everything! The call closes 21 January 2018. The conference will be held 24-27 June 2018 in Michigan, USA. From the conference website:

For policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers. ICTH is designed to bridge the gap between scientific investigation and real-world application. This avant-garde experience is guaranteed to make you feel just a little uncomfortable, a little bit curious and possibly change your perspective. Join us by becoming an abstract presenter.