Breaking Down The Barriers

Breaking Down The Barriers

Victoria Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith

Australia-First Walk In The Park For The Blind Or Vision Impaired

Victor P Taffa

Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith today announced the commencement of the Walk in the Park Program, which aims to reduce the barriers to visitors to parks who are blind or vision impaired, ahead of the International Day of People with Disabilities on 3 December 2011.

Mr. Smith the pilot program was the result of a partnership between Blind Sports Victoria and Parks Victoria, and a first for Australian parks.

“As part of the Walk in the Park Program, volunteers will provide guided walks and companionship so that program participants get the most out of their park experience.”

By 2020, 421,600 Australians are expected to have some form of blindness or vision impairment.

 

“The Walk in the Park Program will provide greater access to blind or vision impaired people so that they can enjoy the amazing experience of visiting a park in the Melbourne area.” Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Smith said the program would help to build communities of assistance for those who are blind or vision impaired.

“Victoria is leading the way with accessibility strategies for parks, with Parks Victoria recently winning a National Disability Award. The Victorian Government has implemented a number of initiatives to improve access for people with disability, such as all-terrain wheelchair equipment in some parks to allow visitors with a disability to access park trails and attractions that would not be possible in conventional wheelchairs.”

“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to making our parks accessible to everyone. These programs make it that little bit easier for people to get out and enjoy the health benefits of our beautiful natural landscapes in Victoria.” Mr. Smith said.

Running from December 2011 to June 2012, the program will provide 10 group walks, led by trained volunteer guides in a variety of parks around Melbourne.