22 October 2009
FINALLY: COURTENAY GARDENS WINS WHEELCHAIR ACCESS
Senator Mitch Fifield, the Coalition’s spokesman for Disabilities, today welcomed the news that Courtenay Gardens in Cranbourne, Victoria, will have wheelchair access restored to its portable classrooms.
Under questioning in Senate Estimates, Officials from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) confirmed that they were aware of the case of Courtenay Gardens Primary School. On 6 October Senator Fifield raised the case of the school publicly. (Note: original release attached)
The school had wheelchair access to three classrooms demolished to make way for a Julia Gillard Memorial Gymnasium. Portable classrooms shoved aside to leave space for the gym were previously all wheelchair accessible.
Prior to today, the school was only told that one classroom would have its access restored.
But under questioning from Senator Fifield, DEEWR officials promised that full access for all classrooms would be restored. The Department stated that they had reached an agreement with the Victorian Department of Education to restore access at no additional cost to the school.
“I’m glad that commonsense has prevailed and that the Victorian Department of Education has backed down from its initial refusal to restore access.
“But this should never have been an issue in the first place. It should be an aim for all schools to be accessible. Schools shouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail to get it, and certainly not to restore the access they had in the first place,” Senator Fifield said.