Researchers present key findings on access to mainstream services

30 September, 2019

In September, researchers from Deakin and Swinburne universities presented Shepparton Regional Network members with the results of an SCI inclusion study the group had helped with last year.

AQA Spire partnered up in 2018 with the two universities, and with spinal and polio organisations in Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, for a research project funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Shepparton Regional Network members, along with Geelong Regional Network, shared experiences with the researchers, to help identify mainstream services that needed action to support inclusion for people living with spinal cord damage.

There were productive discussions on mainstream services in areas such as employment, health, transport and recreation.

For the September network meeting, members welcomed back researchers Erin, Susan and Rob to the lovely Noble Monks (, where they outlined the results of their work.

 Lead researcher Erin summarised three priorities for Shepparton:

 1. Health services

Services were generally not physically accessible and there was a shortage of health professionals with specialist skills and SCI knowledge.

 2. Built environment

There is insufficient understanding of how to make existing buildings, car parking and pathways more accessible, and it is challenging to improve accessibility in the community due to bureaucracy.

 3. Transport

There is a shortage of reliable accessible services (public transport, taxi), and inconsistent boarding procedures for airlines and airports.

These were common issues across all states but they were more significant in regional areas.

Erin then shared solutions that Shepparton Regional Network members had proposed. These included having a travelling specialist health service; educating health services to provide a more inclusive service; and having standardised transport services.

It was an insightful meeting, with ambitious but much needed proposals for change. Members agreed that it was useful to have these known issues put in writing so they could be used as robust evidence when promoting better support for people using mainstream services.

A big thank-you to everyone who contributed and helped put evidence to paper!

Spire is looking forward to working with Shepparton Regional Network in using the research results to focus on a priority area.

For a copy of the Shepparton report or the full report, contact Spire on [email protected]. To discuss the report in more detail, contact Erin at [email protected].

Details of our next event

Wednesday, 02 Oct 2019

11:45 AM

Henry’s Bridge Hotel

1 Hopwood Place, Echuca

Available on surrounding streets or along Murray Esplanade

Mathoura day trip planning, The Foundry Arts Space visit

Spire at 9489 0777 (toll free 1800 999 128) or [email protected]

Tags: Events, Shepparton