788,000 people move around the City of Melbourne (including the CBD) each day. The city also has a resident population of 23,000. Around 18 per cent of Victorians have a disability. While not all people with disability may experience access barriers, potentially around 140,000 daily visitors, and 4,000 city residents could benefit from a fully accessible environment.
Inaccessibility has a negative effect on businesses in the central business district and the city economy because customers, who could be accessing goods and services, may not do so if faced with accessibility barriers, be they physical, communicational or attitudinal.
In 2013, the Commission met with local businesses in the Melbourne CBD to hear about their experiences providing services to customers with disabilities. We found varying levels of understanding among businesses and staff about accessibility, customers’ communication needs and how they can improve customer service for people with disabilities, older people, parents or carers.
On 27 October 2014, the Commission launched the Come in... we're accessible online resource which provides information to businesses - owners, landlords, managers and staff - on how they can improve accessibility to meet their obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act. The resource includes a self -assessment so businesses can find out how accessible they currently are, as well as a suite of fact sheets including one for customers with disabilities.
After the launch, Commission staff visited retail and hospitality venues along Swanston Street in the CBD and Lygon St in Carlton to introduce businesses to the resource.
In 2015 the Commission will visit businesses across the rest of the CBD and Lygon Street and work with local councils to help them improve accessibility in the shopping precincts in their suburbs.
To view the site visit accessiblebusiness.com.au