On 20 July I attended with the then Minister for Community Services, Gavin Jennings, and many supporters, the Alcoa Celebrate All Abilities Festival launch and the Bar None local leadership project. The catchcry of the state government initiative is ‘Bar none’ because the state government is committed to a world where everyone can participate without exception.
The Bar None project launched by the minister is a statewide search for people and organisations and tackles barriers that exclude people with disabilities from fully participating in community life. They are doing this in many ways, including making buildings accessible and leading the way in providing opportunities for people with disabilities to gain employment and participate in sports and the arts.
Ian Westerland from the Inclusive Events planning group, with his seeing eye dog beside him, gave an inspiring speech, calling on the recognition of all those who contribute countless days and years to people with or without disabilities who are making a difference in their communities.
I am extremely proud of this state government initiative, particularly as one of the first two nominations was a Geelong group called the Karingal Kool Kats Pulse FM community radio program. Nominations can be made on the internet at disability.vic.gov.au. The catchcry of this initiative is, ‘We believe in a world where everyone can participate — bar none’.