Celebrating International Wheelchair Day in the Land Down Under

Wheelchair day

Most gadgets and products have made our lives easier. In this time and age, it will be difficult to survive a day without our mobile phones and smartphones to make the queue at the bank or the commute bearable.

For those with mobility limitations, the elderly, and recuperating from injuries, the wheelchair is truly an innovative product that helps them experience mobility again. It’s no wonder, this mobility aid is celebrated every International Wheelchair Day.

How inclusive is Australia?

Australia has come a long way in recognising the needs of people with disabilities. Over the years, Australia has implemented various measures to become more inclusive, giving particular importance to the accessibility and affordability of mobility aid such as manual and electric wheelchair.

International Wheelchair Day Australia celebrations reflect on how far the country has come in prioritising the needs of those individuals, locals and immigrants alike, with disabilities. 

The positive impact of Australia’s accessibility initiatives

In Australia and everywhere else in the world, celebrating the contribution of wheelchairs to the improved quality of life of those with mobility issues is annually celebrated every March 1.

One of the positive impacts of honouring this day is that several stereotypes and misconceptions about wheelchair users were dispelled. The day has paved the way to showcase the resilience, determination and capabilities of individuals who, despite living with physical challenges have contributed greatly to society.

Together with mobility aids specialist company suppliers like Gilani Engineering, Australia’s been actively implementing initiatives to eliminate barriers that may hinder the mobility of wheelchair users.

Public spaces

Many cities and towns across Australia have made their public spaces wheelchair-friendly by installing a wheelchair ramp, making bathrooms accessible, and designated parking spaces for wheelchair users to effectively and efficiently use public areas. 

Transportation

The transportation sector in Australia has undergone notable improvements in making their industry more accessible. Buses, trains and other public vehicles are now equipped with ramps and designated spaces for wheelchair users making public commute more convenient for people with mobility issues.

Legislation

Aside from making public spaces and transportation accessible, Australia also enacted legislation to protect the rights of people with disabilities. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) prohibits discrimination based on disability and mandates equality to all residents regardless of abilities. 

Wheelchair-friendly events

International wheelchair day activities in Australia include community gatherings, workshops and awareness campaigns that play important roles in disseminating information and educating the public about the challenges faced by wheelchair users.

Wheelchair sports events: Australia has numerous organisations focused solely on promoting athleticism and active lifestyle among wheelchair users. These activities not only happen during wheelchair day, but some are even all year round. From basketball tournaments, fencing, canoeing and volleyball, these activities not only celebrate the abilities of participants but also inspire others that having a disability is not a limitation or a hindrance. 

Free entries to attractions: Wheelchair users and their caregivers were entitled to free entries in several attractions like the Wildlife Sydney, SEA Life, Legoland Discovery Centre not only as a special privilege to wheelchair users but to gather feedback on how to make these establishments more accessible for all guests.  

Employment opportunities

In line with the goals of celebrating wheelchair day, Australia advocates for equal employment opportunities and highlights the talents and skills that wheelchair users bring to the workforce.

Inclusive initiatives: Australian businesses have adapted inclusive hiring practices. From flexible work arrangements, hiring disabled employees to accessible workplaces, companies like Westpac, Woolworths, and Qantas have specific initiatives for inclusivity and accessibility.  

Non-profit organisations and initiatives: The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports people with disabilities with education and training to make them employable while the non-profit organisation Australian Network on Disability work with businesses and increase their awareness on how they could become more disability-inclusive employers.

Conclusion

The celebration of Wheelchair Day in Australia is not only to acknowledge the significant contribution of wheelchairs to the lives of people with mobility issues but to also highlight the ongoing and continuous efforts of what an inclusive society truly means.

FAQs

What day is National Wheelchair Day?

National Wheelchair Day is celebrated yearly every March 01. Countries all over the world have various activities and initiatives to commemorate this day.

Who started International Wheelchair Day?

This event was established in 2008 by British blogger Steve Wilkinson or WheelchairSteve and is adapted as a significant event in most countries.