Daily struggle to get around

Ros Harman said disability access is getting better in the City but is often inadequate in older suburbs. Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au d415009
Ros Harman said disability access is getting better in the City but is often inadequate in older suburbs. Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au d415009

The South Perth resident has multiple sclerosis and uses her electric wheelchair to get around.

Ms Harman said some older suburbs, such as South Perth, suffered from a lack of disability access.

‘In South Perth, notably in Angelo Street, there are some older businesses that seem to give little regard to disability access,’ she said.

‘Some places do not have a ramp, there are only steps. Sometimes there are no accessible toilets.

‘Disability access is inadequate in some parts of South Perth.’

Ms Harman, who is on the board of the MS Society, believed progress had been made in recent years but said dilapidated infrastructure continued to be hazardous.

‘Disability access is getting better and the South Perth Civic Centre is an example of a really good venue,’ she said.

‘But there are pathways that are uneven or cracked, which can be quite dangerous. Local governments need to continue to be vigilant and make sure pathways and kerbs are maintained.’

South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty said new buildings and developments had to comply with building codes, which included accessibility standards, but older buildings were exempt.

‘Established and older buildings are not required to comply with current codes,’ she said. ‘Residents have the right to make complaints regarding access through the Disability Discrimination Act.’

Mrs Doherty said the City was keen to ‘continually improve’ disability access in the area.

‘The City’s disability access and inclusion plan outlines our commitment to equality of access to its facilities and services, and work on this is on-going,’ she said.

‘The City is investigating strategies to lobby for improvements across the local area.’