An exciting announcement was made by the the Hon. Anthony Roberts, Minister for Planning and Housing and Fiona Morrison, Commissioner of Open Space and Parklands yesterday at Livvi’s Place Ryde. Read below for more information. 

Imagine taking your child to a playground on a sunny spring morning and seeing the playground full of parents and carers enjoying each other’s company surrounded by children laughing, playing and taking delight in the beautiful surroundings of the park.

Now imagine your child not being able to participate. They can only watch the other children playing and having fun.

Imagine the feelings of disappointment, sadness and despair you and your child would experience.

Sadly, this is the reality that many NSW families across our cities and towns are faced with every day as about 90,000 children aged between five and 14 live with a disability.

This is not acceptable and we need to do more to address the inequality of these situations. Our parks and play spaces are essential to the growth and development of our children.

It is through play that children and young people learn to socialise, negotiate risk, challenge themselves, make friends, develop their imaginations and learn to make decisions.

Playgrounds and parks are spaces where children of all abilities and from all walks of life can strive to work together to conquer challenges, imitate and learn from each other and build friendships, irrespective of physical or mental ability.

Imagine their parents sitting, engaging with other parents and carers witnessing their child being welcomed.

For the parents and carers, play spaces and parks are indispensable meeting points where support, friendship and relief can be found.

As the heart of our suburbs, our parks and play spaces must be places that welcome everyone, regardless of ability and background.

The commitment to create places that are equitable and available to people of all abilities is central to the work of the NSW government and many organisations, including the Touched By Olivia Foundation.

Through the creation of inclusive play spaces and parklands, where children and carers of all abilities can come together to play and to support each other, our community will ­become more resilient and tolerant.

The network of Livvi’s Place play spaces across NSW is a significant step in establishing places where all children can play, but more work needs to be done.

The NSW government is committed to creating more play spaces where all children can play and where carers of all ages and abilities can enjoy time with their children and their neighbours.

I’ve tasked the NSW Commissioner for Open Space and Parklands, Fiona Morrison, to focus on working with the community to create parks and play spaces that are planned, ­designed and managed under the principles of universal access and to create more inclusive play spaces for our communities.

Work has started to ensure play is equal and available to all.

Through understanding the challenges so many NSW families are faced with, the new Inclusive Play Guidelines, which are being finalised and will be released by the end of 2018, will promote inclusion across the state and provide the tools for designers to create play spaces that are equitable, enjoyable, fun and equal.

To previews the guidelines look here: https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/-/media/Files/DPE/Guidelines/everyone-can-play-draft-for-exhibition-guideline-2018-08.ashx

Now, picture the child I mentioned earlier, having the freedom to swing, roll, run, climb, slide, explore, create and build at their choosing. Complete equal autonomy. ­

Imagine their parents sitting, engaging with other parents and carers witnessing their child being welcomed, accepted and smiling.

That is the future this government intends to provide for every child in NSW. While there is much work to be done, the commitment has been made and work has started to ensure play is equal and available to all.

From the Daily Telegraph 9 November 2017