President’s column

Did you know there are 4.3 million people living with disability in our communities? Many often face social isolation and our arts and community centres, and even our men’s sheds and sporting clubs can provide life-changing opportunities for social interaction, participation and meaning.

Since the release of the National Arts and Disability Strategy in 2009, which aims to improve access to and participation in arts and culture for people with disability, the creative and cultural sector has changed a lot. Artists and practitioners with a disability are now creating high-quality artistic work and best practice in the creative and cultural sector in Australia and internationally. They also have expertise in ways to increase the visibility, professional development, employment and participation of people with a disability in the creative and cultural sector.

Funding changes such as the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, have also affected the experience of people with a disability in the creative and cultural sector.

It's now time to update the strategy to reflect these changes and the Federal Department of Communications and the Arts is calling on councils to provide the local perspective to its national strategy review.

The department is keen to hear how your council is enabling access to your programs, promoting best practice in arts access, and fostering the leadership and careers of artists and performers with a disability. They'd like to know what enables people with a disability living in your communities to engage with the arts, what are the barriers to arts engagement, what is best practice and what should happen in the future.

Face-to-face consultations are being held in every state and territory with upcoming consultations in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania and I invite you to attend and share your views.

The department has developed a full calendar for consultation and provided a number of ways to make a submission.

This consultation only runs until 3 December 2018 so if you have any questions, please email or call 1800 185 693 at your earliest opportunity.

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Remembrance Day this Sunday, 11 November which marks an important part of our history – the centenary of the armistice that ended the fighting during the First World War.

Sunday will be an opportunity for every Australian to reflect on those who have died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, and to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of our defence personnel.

I hope you will join the nation to stop at 11am on 11 November to observe one minute's silence and reflect on their service and sacrifice, and that of their families.

Keep up the great work!

Mayor David O'Loughlin