In early 2014 the then Community Access Committee held a workshop to devise ways to engender a more inclusive and accepting community beyond simply improving physical access.
It was clear to the committee that this project must reach beyond local government responsibilities.
Out of this came an aspiration for our city to become the Most Accessible Regional City in Australia and so MARCIA was born.
Our vision is that Australian regional cities will build on the work they have already done to create Disability Access and Inclusion plans (DAIP) and similar strategies. Working with community, schools, business and government cities will join in a friendly rivalry to become the Most Accessible Regional City in Australia: MARCIA.
The 2014 workshop in Bunbury formulated six draft criteria for assessing the Most Accessible Regional City in Australia:
Access to Public Spaces. Examples: Wheelchair accessible buses, use of tactile surface indicators, beach wheelchairs available.
Accessible Public Spaces. Examples: Number of ACROD bays, accessible toilets in CBD, accessible Playgrounds, and lifts in public buildings.
Access Technology (provision/presence of). Examples: Library software, hearing loops in theatres, microphones available at sector meetings.
Access and Disability Aware Community. Examples: Active community access committee, active council on upgrades, agencies promoting access.
Uniform Guidelines (development and implementation of). Examples: Awareness of council officers (especially planning and engineering staff), openness of council to access committee advice.
Inclusion Initiatives. Examples: Sports programs, arts programs, gopher recharge points, business initiatives.
Local Government Organisations would be required to demonstrate whole-of-community involvement in the quest to become accessible above and beyond the internal work identified in their Disability Access and Inclusion Plans.
MARCIA PhD Research Project
In 2015 the City of Bunbury partnered with Edith Cowan University to create an industry scholarship for a PhD study into how the City could achieve its MARCIA aspiration.
The research adopted a ‘participatory action research modality’ recruiting 10 local community members to be co-researchers. The research group regularly interact and engage with staff, councillors, local business owners and community members, promoting and raising awareness amongst the organisation and the community.
The research is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2018 and will guide the City on how to achieve MARCIA.
How do I find out more?
Email the community development team firstname.lastname@example.org
Call the community development team on 9792 7000