MELBOURNE NEWS

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Make the most of Melbourne your way. Explore curated lists of accessible dining and adventures across the city, know where to find facilities and carer support, and tune in to a discussion about the complexities of disability pride.

Find a subject that interests you:

Disability Pride podcast: I Can’t Stand

What does disability pride mean to you? Take a moment to celebrate disability as part of the innate diversity of humanity.

Listen to an episode of the I Can’t Stand podcast with host Peta Hooke. Recorded with support from the City of Melbourne, Peta leads inspiring conversations with artist Larissa MacFarlane and activist Isabella Fantasia about disability rights and ways to call out barriers for people with disability.

Larissa reflects on her mural in Royal Lane in the City of Melbourne, and discusses the fierce women she summons when she needs to draw strength.

“Disability pride is our best tool for resisting ableism and for resisting discrimination. For being able to advocate not just for ourselves but for other people, for making the world a better place… If we don’t have disability pride, then doing that work is really, really hard.”

Larissa MacFarlane
Part of Larissa MacFarlane’s mural in Royal Lane

Street art celebrating disability pride

Look to the city streets for public art that puts disability pride at the centre of the conversation.

Larissa MacFarlane’s Disability Pride mural in Royal Lane features quotes from leaders of the disability pride movement, such as Stella Young, Margaret Cooper and Daisy Serong.

“The journey towards disability pride is long and hard. You have to practice every single day.”

Stella Young
Larissa MacFarlane with her mural in Royal Lane

Just around the corner, find Gonketa’s vibrant mural in Rainbow Alley, which illustrates some of Auslan’s 66 official hand shapes, each of which is used for numerous signs, to shine a light on Deaf culture.

Gonketa’s mural in Rainbow Alley

“I want passers-by to look at the hands on my mural, and look at their own, and be inspired to learn to sign. Many people don’t realise how often they are already using their hands to communicate in day-to-day life.”

Gonketa
Artist Gonketa

Deaf and Disability-led arts residency

Got an idea for a groundbreaking project? The Warehouse Residency at Arts House is the main commissioning pathway for Deaf and Disability led projects, developed at North Melbourne Town Hall. Expressions of interest close 23 January 2024.

Leisa Prowd’s I am (not) this body at the Warehouse Residency. Photo: Tom Noble

Quiet space at Arts House

Need a moment? Slip away to the quiet space at Arts House in North Melbourne, designed for people who may feel overwhelmed, or who need to avoid or recover from sensory overload.

The space includes soft furnishings, dimmable lights, sensory and stimming objects, designed to provide sensory stimulation and help regulate the nervous system.

Recreation venues

Here’s how to find recreation, entertainment and cultural venues in the City of Melbourne.

Many of our recreation and leisure centres have accessible facilities.

And find more than 50 accessible sporting activities in inner Melbourne alone, including:

Accessible playgrounds

Discover more than 40 playgrounds across the City of Melbourne, many of which offer accessible surfaces, swings, opportunities for sensory play and more features designed for children with disability.

The Birrarung Marr playground near ArtPlay features a liberty swing for wheelchairs, quiet areas and accessible toilets. Patrons will need to have their own Master Locksmith Access Key (MLAK).

The Bayswater Road Reserve playground in Kensington has rubber pathways designed for wheelchair access.

Explore playgrounds in your neighbourhood.

Liberty swing at Birarrung Marr playground near ArtPlay

Accessible dining and entertainment

What’s On’s ever-evolving guide to accessible and inclusive Melbourne includes articles researched and written by an access consultant with lived experience of disability.

Explore welcoming, wheelchair-friendly restaurants with easy entries, open spaces and accessible toilets. And plan your foodie tour of Melbourne with handy dietary guides.

What’s On guide to accessible outdoor dining
What’s On guide to accessible and wheelchair-friendly venues

Get involved in Council activities

Help shape your city by getting involved in Council activities such as community consultation platform Participate Melbourne, by applying for community grants, and making use of bookable spaces.

Get to know the Disability Advisory Committee, which brings together people with lived experience of disability to advise and guide the city on access and inclusion.

People such as accessibility advocate Tricia Malowney OAM.

Tricia urges us all to start recognising that people with disabilities are the experts. Read more on what she has to say in the story Agents of our own destiny.

‘Talk to us. Employ us. Put us at the centre of your conversations and planning.’

Tricia Malowney OAM
Tricia Malowney OAM

Health and wellbeing

Connect with disability services either offered by the City of Melbourne, or connected with specialist providers.

Sensory garden for people with dementia

Bliss out in nature, get your hands dirty and enjoy garden-to-plate morning teas at Kensington’s sensory garden, a place where people living with dementia and their carers can come together for a weekly gardening and social group.

Sensory garden in Kensington

Home library

Our home library service offers free delivery of library material, answers to information requests and other library services.

You can access the home library service if you live in the City of Melbourne, can’t get to your local library in person and have no one in your household to visit the library for you.

You might not be able to visit because of disability or illness. You can also access the home service if you are temporarily housebound.

Positive exercise experiences for people with Down syndrome

The FitSkills program connects people with Down syndrome with volunteer partners for twice-weekly exercise sessions at Melbourne City Baths.

Participants report improved health and wellbeing, and a greater sense of community belonging.

With new clients and volunteers already on the waitlist, the team is also looking to expand the program into the pool.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, sign up at Down Syndrome Australia.

Carer support

More than 2.6 million Australians provide support to a family member or friend, playing an invaluable role in the community.

Carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and all religions. Some are young, while others are nearing 90. To browse our year-round program of carer support, visit Carers.

  • Carer support group: Gather with other carers for a carer support group once a month in Carlton to get support, respite, and to share experiences with other local carers.
  • Queer carers: we’ve teamed up with queerspace and Carers Victoria to offer a group for carers who identify as LGBTIQA+.
  • Carer Card: get discounts at Carlton Baths, North Melbourne Community Centre and more benefits through a Carer Card card, which provides recognition, understanding and support for carers, in collaboration with government, community and business.
  • Companion Card: people with a significant, permanent disability – who can show they need attendant care support to access most community activities and venues – are entitled to a Companion Card. It allows a free second ticket to be issued to card holders.

Hidden Disability Sunflower

Globally, one billion people live with disabilities that are not immediately obvious. These disabilities are extremely varied, and include autism, dementia, hearing loss and chronic illness.

Signal your hidden disability by wearing a free Hidden Disability Sunflower product, such as a pin, lanyard and wristband. It’s a discrete sign that you may need extra assistance or considerations as you spend time in the city.

Staff who wear a sunflower symbol at City of Melbourne events have undergone specific training about hidden disability and can offer support and understanding help you enjoy the city.

Find the products at our events, tourism hubs, all our libraries and visitor centres, and the Traveller’s Aid centres at Flinders Street and Southern Cross stations.

Find out more, visit Supporting people with hidden disabilities.

Changing places and accessible toilets

To make sure people with high support needs can participate in all facets of community life, public toilets with full-sized change tables, ceiling hoists and peninsula toilets are positioned across the city.

Look for facilities in Melbourne Town Hall, Community Hub at the Dock, the new narrm ngarrgu library in the Queen Victoria Market precinct, as well as RMIT, Melbourne Arena, Hamer Hall and Melbourne Cricket Ground.

For a list of locations, and a link to the National Public Toilet Map, visit Getting around Melbourne.

Changing places facility at narrm ngarrgu library

Bins4Blokes

At least 1.34 million Australian boys and men are living with incontinence daily, according to the Continence Foundation of Australia. To help address this issue, the City of Melbourne is piloting Bins4Blokes, a free incontinence product disposal bin service

Incontinence product disposal bins are available in men’s and all-gender toilets at the following locations:

  • Library at The Dock
  • City Library
  • Carlton Baths
  • Melbourne Town Hall public toilets (on Collins Street)
  • North Melbourne Community Centre​
  • Kathleen Syme Community Centre
  • Kensington Neighbourhood Centre
  • Fawkner Park Senior Citizens Centre
  • Jean McKendry Neighbourhood Centre​

Getting around

Here’s your guides to accessible public transport, taxi and rideshare services, and getting around Melbourne.

Find accessible parking, public transport, toilets, recharging points, public seating, drinking fountains and more through our access and mobility maps or this printable central city mobility map (PDF).

Parking

We’re improving parking in the CBD by moving accessible parking spaces closer to kerb ramps and crossing points wherever possible, and using blue line marking in accessible spaces for better identification.

Disability parking permit holders can also park for double the time limit shown on any general ‘green sign’ parking space (up to four hours in a ‘2P Meter’ space).

  • Kerbside parking: We provide kerbside spaces across the City of Melbourne for vehicles displaying Australian Disability Parking permits.
  • Off-street parking: In central Melbourne, you’re never more than 200 metres from a supervised, commercial off-street car park. There are 140 commercial car parks and most offer short- and long-stay deals, early bird specials and accessible parking spaces.
  • Parking permits: find parking for people with disability and parking permits for people with disability, including residents, organisations and people requiring frequent access to the city.

Get general information on parking options in the City of Melbourne.

Wheelchairs, scooters and accessibility equipment

Recharge your electric scooter or wheelchair at Melbourne Town Hall at 120 Swanston Street and find other recharge points at City Library, North Melbourne Library and East Melbourne Library, and the Traveller’s Aid centres at Flinders and Southern Cross train stations.

You can also rent equipment like scooters and walking sticks to help you move around the city from Traveller’s Aid centres. Book online or call 03 9068 8187.

Beacon technology

Beacon technology works alongside mobility aids such as a cane or guide dog to help people with low vision or blindness navigate the city.

Download the BlindSquare app (available in more than 25 languages) or to receive audio messages to your phone about intersections, transport, obstacles and disruptions.

Our guiding principles

Every person with disability should be able to access the spaces and assistance they need, when they need it.

To make sure Melbourne is an accessible, safe city for everyone, we’re adapting our events, programs, services, facilities, systems and capabilities.

We are guided by our Inclusive Melbourne Strategy and our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan.

For more information, visit Accessing Melbourne or go deeper into building belonging: a guide to access and inclusion in Melbourne.

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