Australian beaches are now more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities
Accessible Beaches Australia has launched a new beach access directory, developed in partnership with Deloitte. The new site is the first of its kind in Australia, with detailed listings of accessible beaches near and far. People with disabilities will now have better information, accessibility, and an opportunity to visit Australian beaches.
Founder & Board Chair of Accessible Beaches Australia, Shane Hryhorec, said, “We understand that information empowers people. The more information we can provide about accessibility to Australian beaches for people with disabilities, the better equipped those people will be to know if that beach is appropriate for them or not. Information is power; they won’t go if they don’t have it or don’t know.”
“The new Accessible Beaches Australia website is an absolute blessing for our family,” says Natalie Roberts mother of Chiara who has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, Talipes, Polymicrogyria & Microcephaly.
“Navigating the outdoors, and beaches in particular can be challenging, however with this resource at our fingertips it allows our beach adventures to happen with ease and flow,” says Roberts, from Noosa QLD.
“The new beach access directory has lots of resources for people with disabilities. There are a lot of considerations for people with disabilities when going to the beach. You don’t just have to think of towels and sunscreen and the best beach with the best surf, but also whether it will be possible to access that beach and what equipment and tools might be needed. If it becomes too hard, then inclusivity at the beach just won’t happen,” says Hryhorec.
People with disabilities like The beach sand had always been an impossible barrier for her. But after trialling the new equipment at Port Macquarie, Rochelle was finally in the sea. Rochelle has not been able to visit the beach in over ten years, until December of 2021.
“I loved today. You made a little miracle happen, and because of what you did, it gave me a feeling of being normal,” Rochelle said.
Rochelle, who lives with a disability, has trialled the new site and said, “The Accessible Beaches website can now tell me if I can get onto a beach before I even travel the distance to get there and that I will feel included because there are accessible bathrooms, matting, accessible car parks. It’s good to know that I can roll onto the beach on a marvellous sunny day with my friends and family.”
“With an accessible beach directory that shows me which beaches have facilities, I know what will be possible when I go to the beach with my friends and family,” Rochelle said.
Chair, Hryhorec said Accessible Beaches were thrilled to partner with Deloitte to develop this Australian-first resource. He was impressed by their passion for improving the experience of those with disabilities going to Australian beaches. They recognised that this digital platform was essential to ensuring that people with disabilities could access their local beaches. It was created for people with a disability to be made widely available at no cost to any person with a smartphone or computer and has the benefit of being an interactive information tool that is kept updated through audits and user feedback.
“They knew Accessible Beaches was just run by passionate volunteers looking for tech ways to promote accessible beach access. They realised that our new Accessible Beaches online directory.”
Lead Partner at Deloitte Digital, Jason Hutchison, said, “Australians love their beaches, and we believe that beaches should be for everyone. We (Deloitte Digital) are really proud to have worked with Shayne and the team at Accessible Beaches to develop their branding and website to support their mission to improve the quality of life for Australians living with a disability by getting them back; onto the beach.”