About Melissa James

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So far Melissa James has created 11 blog entries.

Brisbane Airport Leading the Way in Access


Brisbane Airport has invested more than $3 million in the past five years implementing its extensive Disability Access Management Plan in addition to the funding for DDA compliance incorporated into other major projects.It's the first airport in Australia to open a dedicated Changing Places facility for passengers with disabilities.  It's located on the ground floor of the Domestic Terminal and there are plans to open a second one in the International Terminal.Changing places facilities are different from standard accessible bathroom amenities.  They are larger and are fitted out with specialised equipment such as hoists, adult change table and a toilet fitted with movable handrails.  This enables better use for people with severe disabilities and their care providers.Stephen Goodwin, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) [...]

Accessible Holidays Should Be Easy


Accessible holidays in a nutshell. Why should age, mobility issues or any disability be an obstacle to people who wish to travel and enjoy the good things in life? According to Melissa James, founder and CEO of Inclusive Tourism, it shouldn’t.  “Take the baby boomers for example.  They’re retiring and it’s estimated 40% of them will have some sort of disability.  They’re still active, travelling and wanting to have fun.  They just need to know the places they are going are suitable for them.” The accessible holiday planning process becomes a lot more complex when you or someone in your group has a disability.  With one in five Australians fitting into this category, more and more people need to [...]

Accessible Housing


Developers Going Accessible Developers seizing on disability-friendly apartment opportunities as NDIS needs soar By social affairs correspondent Norman Hermant - ABC.net.au For most of the last decade Amy Pilson could not escape a sense of loneliness and isolation. Amy lives with paraplegia and uses a wheelchair. Her home was a ground unit at her grandmother's house and the outside stairs were a constant reminder of the life she was missing. "Everything else is up the stairs. Three bedrooms, main kitchen, my family all live up there," she said. "It isn't the nicest having to be so separated from your family. You do live together, but totally separate," she said. "I think now, 'How did I survive that long?'" Ms [...]

Refused service because of assistance dog


Disability campaigner Megan Grant says she was refused service because of her assistance dog It really is sad that in this day and age people with disabilities are still being refused service because staff are not aware of the law.  It's probably not their fault - chances are they just haven't been given appropriate disability awareness training. In this particular case Megan Grant, a disability campaigner, was told she could not bring her assistance dog, Jonesy, into the Cluck Bar and La Porchetta in Mentone last Sunday. Ms Grant, profoundly deaf since birth, said the dog is her ear — alerting her to the doorbell or the phone ringing and other everyday sounds. She said a Cluck Bar employee became extremely [...]

Online Disability Awareness Training


We are very pleased to announce our new online disability awareness training program is now open for enrollments. The NDIS roll out is now well underway. This means people with disabilities will have more choice when it comes to how they spend their money. So if you have a service business, chances are you are going to see an increase of customers with disabilities wanting to buy from you. They will choose to go to businesses that can best cater to their needs.  This means it's not only important for your business to be accessible from a physical aspect, but that your staff are properly trained in how to provide service. Do you and your staff know how to [...]

Disability Awareness Training Can Help Stop Complaints


It's worrying that we are still seeing many cases of people being refused service because they have an assistance animal such as a guide dog.  This problem is generally due to a lack of knowledge and could be resolved if more companies provided staff with disability awareness training.   It should be a standard part of any employee induction training and would enable staff to provide service and interact with people with disabilities in the appropriate manner.   Not to mention reducing the risk of a complaint being lodged with the Human Rights Commission. Here is the latest case to hit the media and involves former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes. Disability activist complains to Human Rights Commission after Uber drivers refuse to [...]

Access and Inclusion is Good for Business


  Australian Network On Disability (AND) has just released a video that I'd like to share with you.  It's called Access and Inclusion is Good for Business. The Australian Network on Disability (AND) has launched a new video illustrating the business case for the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business, as employees, customers and stakeholders. The video highlights the current rates of disability in Australia, and encourages businesses to recognise people with disability as valuable potential employees and customers. There are more than four million people with disability in Australia, and 10 per cent of the Australian workforce (just over one million people) have some form of disability. As the prevalence of disability increases with age, [...]

Is it time to modernise the wheelchair access icon?


The current wheelchair access icon has been with us for many years and there is now a debate about whether it should be changed for a more modern look. The International Symbol of Access was designed by Danish student Susanne Koefoed and has been in circulation since 1969. Originally featuring a headless body, it was soon adopted by the International Organization for Standardization and modified to represent the symbol we see globally today. A Connecticut governor is proposing legislation in America that would modernise handicap parking signs, license plates, stickers, and tags. If the bill becomes law, Connecticut will join New York in becoming some of the first states to universally replace the International Symbol of Access. The Accessible Icon [...]

Study Finds Accessible Travel Large And Lucrative Market


A study has been undertaken in the US that has found that the accessible travel industry is a large and lucrative market. However travelers with disabilities still face obstacles when trying to find wheelchair accessible accommodation, activities and services.  The same applies here in Australia.  That’s why we continue to build the CanGoEverywhere database of accessible accommodation, accessible attractions and events and service providers in order to provide the information seniors, the less mobile and people with disabilities need to venture out with confidence. The CBS News article is below: It has been 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. But a new study finds that while the travel industry is more accommodating to the [...]

Deep Sea Diving – In A Wheelchair


Deep sea diving… In a wheelchair.  While researching for a keynote speech I am delivering on Accessible Tourism, I came across this Ted Talk and wanted to share it with you.  Deep sea diving….. in a wheelchair is a wonderful talk delivered by Sue Austin, a performance artist who also just happens to use a wheelchair.  It includes a video of her deep sea diving – as the title says, in her wheelchair. It was filmed at TEDxWomen in December 2012.  You can watch it here: http://go.ted.com/bGCQ – I highly recommend it. When Sue Austin got a power chair 16 years ago, she felt a tremendous sense of freedom — yet others looked at her as though she had lost something. [...]