Life is a beach: ensuring access to the beach for everyone

Miss Yvette Eglinton1

1Department For Environment And Water, Adelaide, Australia

Beaches are a huge part of Australia’s identity. They’re some of our most iconic locations and they also provide a range of health benefits, from relieving stress to boosting our immune system. A trip to the beach is something that many Australians take for granted. In the past beaches have not been accessible for everyone. Sure there are walkways along the edge of the beach but so often there are stairs to reach the sand, let alone accessible features that allow people with disabilities to enter the water.  Inclusion means being able to enjoy and partake in activities with your loved ones, and not be left sitting in the car park or on the footpath. But beaches are becoming destinations that really are for everyone, as councils across Australia have been taking more notice of the needs of everyone in the community during the warmer months of the year.

Accessible Beaches Australia is a volunteer-led organisation that has been the driving force behind the growth of beaches offering accessibility options. In 2016 they launched their campaign to improve access to beaches around the country.

This presentation will highlight the importance of making beaches accessible to everyone, will point out the key features which make a beach accessible and highlight the work being done to improve access to beaches and the marine environment with a focus on South Australia’s beaches.


Biography:

Yvette Eglinton has been working for the Department for Environment and Water for 12 years in the marine parks group. She has used her knowledge and experience to help design and now evaluate the marine parks. In 2009 Yvette had a cycling accident in which she sustained a spinal cord injury. Yvette is passionate about improving access in South Australia’s parks. Since the end of 2017 Yvette joined a team of DEW staff to set about improving information and accessibility of parks as people with disabilities deserve the same rights to experience nature as those without a disability.

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