An International Day of People with Disability gathering was held at The Crossing Theatre last Thursday to celebrate the contributions and achievements of people with disabilities.

Events took place all around the world to celebrate the United Nations observed day, which aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance.

The local event coincided with Narrabri Shire Council’s launch of its Disability Access and Inclusion Survey as part of the day to gain further information on people with all types of disabilities.

Imogen Bunner and Sara Palmer were the local gathering’s special guests.

Ms Bunner shared stories on her life with cerebral palsy while Ms Palmer talked candidly about raising an 11-year-old with disabilities and the need for increased support services.

Mayor Ron Campbell and Narrabri Shire Council’s community development officer Jane Linehan also gave speeches dedicated to the occasion.

“It’s all about respect and acknowledgement as everyone has the equal right to access the community,” Mrs Linehan said.

“Half our population over 65 has a disability for example, whether it be a vision impairment or mobility issues, so everyone deserves as much access an anyone else.”

Speaking of the survey, Mrs Linehan said it is going to be used to source a lot of information from the demographic within the shire.

“We’ve got some information, but we don’t know the detailed level of exactly what kind of disabilities and age groups we have, so that is what we want to understand,” she said.

The Australian government has supported the annual day since 1996.

The theme for this year was ‘building back better’ which aims towards a disability-inclusive and accessible post-COVID-19 world.

“The annual theme provides an overarching focus on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disabilities,” mayor Ron Campbell said.

“It is intended that this survey will assist with strategies and action, and planning for a more accessible community as well as providing evidence to support future funding opportunities.”

Guests and attendees enjoyed morning tea afterwards along with a demonstration of access to the survey on the council’s website.

The survey is available on the council’s website and asks questions about how easily someone with a disability, or their carer, can access places in the shire along with their feelings towards inclusivity.

The survey will remain open for the next three months.

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