Melbourne and Geelong convention centres pave the way for accessibility and inclusion

Melbourne and Geelong convention centres pave the way for accessibility and inclusion
Edited by Travel Weekly

    The operators of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and the future Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre have taken a significant step towards inclusivity with the launch of their latest Accessibility Action Plan.

    Welcoming visitors from diverse backgrounds, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust (MCET) is committed to providing safe spaces to connect and engage.

    According to the World Health Organisation, 16 per cent of people worldwide have a severe disability, while almost 20 per cent of Australians have a disability according to the Australian Human Rights Commission. This is a significant number of people who experience barriers to accessing public spaces and events.

    MCET adopts the social model view, recognising these barriers are due to social systems and structures, rather than the individual, and the new Accessibility Action Plan seeks to address both physical and non-visible barriers.

    The plan focuses on four key goals; improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities; improving access to goods, services and facilities at MCEC and Nyaal Banyul; collaborating with event organisers to ensure everyone can meaningfully participate and engage in events; and changing discriminatory attitudes, behaviours and practices.

    MCET has already made significant progress towards accessibility and inclusion across both venues.

    “As leaders in the events industry, it’s our duty to set the standard for accessibility and inclusion. We’re proud to release our latest Accessibility Action Plan, affirming our commitments to providing welcoming spaces for everyone that visits our venues,” said Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust chief executive, Natalie O’Brien AM

    Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre already has a range of accessible features available to support visitors with mobility needs, vision impairment and assisted hearing.

    MCEC’s new website, launched last year, was designed with inclusivity in mind, complying to WCAG 2.0 Level AA Accessibility Guidelines, and providing information about accessible features as well as virtual tours of the venue, allowing visitors to easily explore, navigate and plan their visit. Over the next three years, MCET has committed to further enhancing accessibility at the venue.

    “We’re proud to work with the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Trust, and I congratulate MCET for their work on the Accessibility Action Plan that will help everyone who visits MCEC and Nyaal Banyul to feel welcome,” Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Steve Dimopoulous, said.

    Construction of Nyaal Banyul, which is set to open on the Geelong waterfront in 2026 is currently underway. MCET is working closely with the Victorian Government and the consortium led by Plenary Conventions to ensure Universal Design principles are embedded throughout the venue, ensuring accessible gathering spaces for all who visit.

    In addition, the Positive Impact Guide was launched last year to provide event organisers with tangible resources to embed corporate social responsibility into their events. The guide includes information on accommodations that can be made to support attendees, as well as partnerships with leading disability service providers, Travellers Aid and Alkira.

    MCET’s Accessibility Action Plan was developed with input from people with lived experience along with expertise from accessibility consultants in the tourism industry. This included support from the City of Melbourne Business Capacity Program.

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