The Ma:Mu Rainforest Canopy Walkway near Innisfail has been honoured for improving the quality of life for people with a disability at a disability action awards ceremony in Brisbane today.
Disability Services Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk today presented the Department of Environment and Resources Management (DERM) with the Government Award at Queensland’s Disability Action Week Awards 2009.
Ms Palaszczuk said the awards acknowledged individuals and organisations who were making a real difference for Queenslanders with a disability, their families and carers.
“Twelve individuals and organisations from across Queensland were presented with awards in six categories at this year’s ceremony,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt attended the ceremony and welcomed the award for the local organisation.
“The Department of Environment and Resources Management’s Ma:Mu Rainforest Canopy Walkway, which is located 115km south of Cairns and 30km north-west of Innisfail, have made this popular tourist attraction accessible for people with various disabilities, so everyone can enjoy being amongst nature,” Mr Pitt said.
“The walkway offers a safe and comfortable nature-based experience for all visitors with all facilities and walking tracks, except the top viewing deck of the observation tower, accessible for wheelchairs with assistance.
“Alternative routes suitable for wheelchairs and strollers are provided along the Forest walk, indicated by directional signs.
“Visitors with vision-impairment can also enjoy this nature experience, with Braille and large print guides available and all facilities and walking tracks equipped with tap rails, hand rails, and tactile directional signs provided along all tracks and walkways.
“The involvement of the Innisfail District Disability Awareness Group from the project’s inception ensured the needs of people with various disabilities were catered for, as members provided valuable feedback while visiting the walkway site during construction.
“The project director kept members of the group informed of the project’s progress and responded to the group’s advice. This successful partnership has resulted in an attraction that allows people with a disability to experience and enjoy the rainforest environment.
“The commitment shown to making the walkway accessible has encouraged other organisations and businesses to consider improving access to their sites.
The Government Award was sponsored by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Ms Palaszczuk said the awards ceremony was an acknowledgement of people who had made a significant contribution to people with a disability their in communities across Queensland.
“We’re also recognising and valuing the efforts of organisations that are making a difference for people with a disability and their families and carers in sectors such as education, private enterprise and Government,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The Awards are a highlight of Disability Action Week, which continues until Saturday 19 September 2009.
“Disability Action Week helps to create greater awareness about the challenges faced by people with a disability everyday, as well as the positive achievements and contribution people with a disability make in enriching their communities and Queensland.”
For more information on how Disability Services Queensland is making a difference for people with a disability visit www.disability.qld.gov.au