Making our infrastructure accessible for everyone

The Victorian Government is taking a universal design approach to all future infrastructure development.

Universal design is for everyone. It’s about creating facilities, built environments, products and services accessible to people of all abilities, and as far as possible, without adaptations. Universal design makes everything usable for as many people as possible from the beginning, so that changes aren’t needed later. It is relevant for Victorians with any mobility or accessibility need, from people living with disabilities or temporary injuries requiring mobility aids to families with prams. Universal design also helps older Victorians, by enabling people to live at home for longer, as they age.

Under the Absolutely everyone: state disability plan 2017-20, government is committed to developing a whole-of-government policy to embed universal design principles across the state and make more infrastructure, services and places accessible to people of all abilities. This will enable and empower a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation.

Universal Design approaches are being applied across various projects, programs and the suburban and regional development networks, including:

  • public transport and road networks, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities,
  • commitment to build a number of new Changing Places facilities,
  • inclusive schools fund, and
  • sport and recreation programs.

Changing Places are a key component of Victoria’s Universal Design approach. These facilities are larger-than-standard accessible toilets, with extra features and more space. Changing Places incorporate a height-adjustable, adult sized changing bench, tracking hoist system, and a safe, clean environment. Government is identifying ideal locations to install the facilities at transport interchanges and shared community locations, near public transport. One example is the recently opened facility at Melbourne Zoo.

Victoria is leading the way with Changing Places, a concept gaining momentum across Australia. There has also been strong commitment to Changing Places from the private sector, with shopping centre build commitments. The first Changing Places equipped commercial office tower is now under construction in Melbourne CBD.