Website Main content
Website Secondary navigation Latest news

Changing places, transforming lives

Monday 17 June 2019

A new facility at Batehaven will allow people with high support needs to enjoy day-to-day activities which many take for granted, with a Changing Places toilet installed at the Corrigans Beach Reserve park adjacent to the Variety Inclusive Playground.

Eurobodalla Council’s director of infrastructure Warren Sharpe said the toilet was designed for people unable to use standard accessible toilets due to profound core-movement limitations.

“The Changing Places toilet includes a height-adjustable adult-sized changing table, a hoist system, and sufficient space in a clean environment. This type of toilet is provided in addition to and separate from standard accessible toilets,” Mr Sharpe said.

“More than one million Australians are thought to have movement limitations severe enough to require a toilet with the equipment provided by a Changing Places facility.

“Thanks to grants from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund and the Australian Government’s Community Development Grants Programme, families with a member who has a serious disability can now enjoy the day out at Corrigans, just like any other family.”

Mr Sharpe said carers would also benefit from the facility, with a Deakin University study finding them highly likely to be carrying an injury caused by caring activities and more likely to be living with chronic pain due to repetitive and unassisted lifting.

“The Changing Places toilet removes the need for carers to lift the person with a disability,” he said.

Changing Places began in the United Kingdom in 2006 and the concept was introduced to Australia in 2012, with the first toilet opening in 2014.

Now a nationwide initiative with 85 toilets across the country, Changing Places is breaking down one of the fundamental barriers to inclusion for people with very high support needs.

From 1 May 2019, the National Construction Code requires accessible adult change facilities – modelled on the Changing Places design – for specified public buildings; large shopping centres, major sports stadiums, aquatic centres, museums, art galleries and airports. Australia is the first country to mandate these facilities.

Mr Sharpe said a Master Locksmiths’ Access Key was needed to access Changing Places toilets.

“The keys require written authority from a doctor, disability organisation or community health centre,” he said.

“This protects the facility from misuse or vandalism but allows around-the-clock access for eligible people.”