Sydney needs: To be accessible for everyone

We want to make Sydney a #CityForEveryone: a city that’s safe, affordable and accessible to everyone regardless of income or their access needs.

The Greens want the council to be a leader in making our city a place for everyone

We need to ensure universal access to places of employment, shops, restaurants and cafes, parks, footpaths and other places that the public expects to use in Sydney.

Making spaces accessible benefits us all, and especially older people, parents and carers, and anyone who has mobility and access considerations, or has less access to private facilities because of the housing they can afford. By 2036 it is expected that over 80% of people living in the city will live in apartments. 

We want a City where those currently marginalised or excluded due to disability, mobility, health, age or family circumstances are able to ‘boldly go where everyone else has gone before’. There should be an expectation that businesses and community organisations actively welcome people with disability. 

The Greens want a City where accessibility is at the heart of planning and everything the City does – from entertainment to employment, footpaths and space social spaces. Preparation for a warming climate and future disasters must be key considerations in access and wellbeing design in a hotter city. 

Our priorities for an accessible Sydney
  1. More free, lit, sheltered and shaded outdoor spaces where people are able to gather without needing to spend money. Lighting (for example in parks and picnic shelters) makes it easier for people to move indoor activities outside, of particular importance during a pandemic. Shade and fountains allow people who live in poorly insulated homes to cool down, without incurring large energy bills. 
  2. Non-slippery footpaths with safe entry/exit dips make it easier for wheelchair users, people using prams, or who have any form of mobility challenge. 
  3. Expanding and promoting the availability of free, cool, quiet spaces across the City. 
  4. Better information about access. This includes installing better wayfinding and Council signage to assist people with a disability to navigate the City. 
  5. Ensuring that the needs and interests of people with a disability people are acknowledged in the City’s regular community wellbeing surveys. 

More about our inclusion policies

Proactive outreach on universal access

Council to expand programs to encourage local businesses to make their operations better suited to people who have specific considerations around access, sound and noise, lighting or text. These could include ensuring a full range of access options are included in guidelines, recognising wheelchair users have different needs to people who are sight or hearing impaired, older people or people with learning or psychosocial disabilities. 

Supporting business to become better aware of the range of accessibility measures from installing ramps to (in hospitality) large-print or Braille menus, quiet booths in restaurants and audio insulation, employment policies, car parking spaces and more. 

Mobilising and training a group of people, including Council staff and disability advocates, to support and communicate new policies and help with their successful implementation.

Action to recognise and encourage inclusion

Explore the creation of a digital app that recognises businesses which put themselves forward for the accessibility and useability features they offer. Council’s own cool/quiet spaces could also be featured. The app could also give users options for constructive feedback to help organisations consolidate their approach (a similar ratings proposal is under consideration in Wales).

Explore incentives such as a window sticker certificate, preferences within Council grant programs with the app operating as an enhancement of Council’s existing Accessibility Map which helps people locate mobility barriers and find accessible toilets.

Prepare for the future and better use of public spaces

Ensure Council policies and plans think ahead to a hotter city where people are increasingly likely to need sheltered outdoor spaces, and airy, cool places to connect and meet without living costs blowing out.

Prioritise creating well-lit, safe, free, shaded and accessible outdoor spaces such as picnic areas and park amenities. 

Consider use of car parks (which lie empty at night) or other facilities as places for night-time markets and social gatherings.

Measure success

Expand public reporting on the inclusion of disabled people in various aspects of city life. Public data does not currently tell us whether disabled people have affordable and accessible housing, access to shops, cafes and restaurants and access to employment opportunities and feel included in the community. 

Set targets and report progress for people with a disability in Council’s annual Community Wellbeing Indicators Report. 

Revise indicators and analysis relating to ‘Healthy, Safe and Inclusive Communities’, and ‘Dynamic and Resilient Local Economies’ to indicate the extent to which people with disability have equitable access to transport, shops, cafes and restaurants, employment opportunities and etc.

Can you help us make Sydney a #CityForEveryone?

Next event

Join Greens for Sydney’s Sylvie Ellsmore at the Lord Mayoral candidate forum organised by Alexandria Residents’ Action Group, Friends of Erskineville and REDWatch, 7pm on Wednesday 10 November.

Candidates will take questions from the moderator and the community. The organisers conducted a survey to select the top three topics for discussion, which will be public housing, climate change and transport.

Event registration is not required. The below button will take you straight to the Zoom meeting room.

Get your questions ready!