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11 June, 2022

Inclusive Tablelands campaign rolls out

A MAJOR campaign is being rolled out across the southern Tablelands to encourage and inform businesses how they can be inclusive of people of all ages and abilities.


Cr Peter Hodge, Matt Bowles from Fresh Street Market IGA and Cr Bernie Wilce at one of the launches of the new “Every Body Welcome Here”, campaign.

With a catchy promotional tag of “Every Body Welcome Here”, the campaign was launched in every town in the southern Tablelands last week, with a selection of businesses taking part in kicking off the program. 

A key component of the Tablelands Regional Council campaign is a new “Making Business Better” toolkit which provides information, tips and suggestions to give businesses guidance on how they can ensure their business is inclusive. 

As part of research conducted to inform the campaign, it was revealed that the population of the local government area is changing, with 22.8 per cent aged over 65 years and 22.2 per cent with a disability. 

“Combining the ageing population and the population with a disability, nearly 50 per cent of the community on the Atherton Tablelands have access needs or will have more distinct access needs in the future,” TRC Inclusion Advisory Committee chair Cr Peter Hodge said. 

Compared to the rest of Queensland (15.4 per cent aged over 65, 18.3 per cent have a disability), the Tablelands had a proportionately larger population with access needs. 

“Recognising this, council felt it had to play a role in encouraging local businesses and community organisations to become more inclusive and meet the needs of our changing population,” Cr Hodge said. 

“Taking that into account, the Tablelands Inclusive Communities Action Plan was developed which identifies goals and priority actions to be implemented over the next two years, in particular to establish education tools to remove barriers for inclusion and roll out positive public relations that promote and embed inclusive practices within the community.” 

He said the “Making Business Better Toolkit” provided easy-toimplement ideas which were specific to our region for how businesses and services can be more inclusive.

 Tips for businesses to provide better customer service include being aware of customers who require more assistance, having respectful conversations with customers, providing glasses or magnifying glasses on the counter to help those with limited sight, ensuring items like EFTPOS machines were within reach of each customer and conducting staff training to create awareness. 

Identifying better access for customers from the street was another key area where businesses could improve, including providing seating to suit different needs, keeping walkways and aisles clear to allow for wheelchairs, prams or mobility scooters, and getting advice from council on items like ramps to make entrances easier to negotiate. 

The Making Business Better was funded with a $41,000 grant from the Department of Social Services under the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building program.

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