Parents, employees and organisations that care for people with a disability, as well as people with a disability, will now have a chance to voice their concerns and issues, after the formation of disability advocacy/lobby committee in Bathurst.
Formed by Bathurst disability advocate Vanessa Comiskey wants the committee to bring about positive changes to the local community.
The decision to form the group came after Ms Comiskey heard a story that concerned Jodie Carter and her autistic son two years ago.
“We had a member of the community report me in the lady’s bathroom, in relation to my son being in there,” Ms Carter said.
“The reason he was in there was because he was incontinent.
“I just thought after two years, nothing has really changed. We still have these issues and we don’t have any changing rooms in our community.
“Vanessa had mentioned that there were several ideas that she had and asked if I had any ideas and that was one of them [to have more change rooms in the Bathurst community].”
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Ms Comiskey took the issue to the Bathurst Regional Access Committee but they were unable to help her because they solely deal with access-related issues.
She said after some research, she was unable to find a forum where she can voice her concerns as a carer.
“My idea was to get everyone in the same room, all stakeholders whether its carers or organisations, to come in and brainstorm problems that need to be solved,” she said.
“We would then take our problems to council or the state government.
“My big issue is that we don’t have disability toilets for adults with disabilities in the community. Given the amount of people we have in Bathurst and that come to Bathurst, then why hasn’t this been brought up before?”
Ms Comiskey said she’s got the backing of a Bathurst councillor as well as various disability organisations that have shown support for the advocacy committee.
She’s hopeful of meeting at the Bathurst Neighbourhood Centre once a month during school hours.
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“I’ve had some really good community support and people contacting me on Facebook, wanting to support the group,” she said.
“I’m just trying to get the organisations on board. I’ve been emailing a whole heap of them and I’m waiting to here back.
“I would love to get the word out there in order to get some expressions of interest, so I can book a date and time for the first meeting and give people ample notice.”
Ms Comiskey said the group will not be addressing access-related issues, with the Bathurst Regional Access Committee to continue to deal with access-related issues.
Ms Comiskey can be contacted at 0431 515 588.