Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

More time to apply for Accessible Communities grant

The Australian Government has extended the application period for grants of up to $100,000 to local councils to make their communities more accessible for people with disability.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disability and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, said applications to the Government’s new $5 million Accessible Communities program will now be accepted until Friday 25 March 2011 to ensure that communities affected by recent disasters have the opportunity to lodge an application.

“Many regions across Australia have been impacted by recent natural disasters, placing added pressure on council staff and resources as they deal with the aftermath and begin to rebuild. Extending the application period will help disaster-affected councils to prepare an application and participate in this new grants program.”

The small infrastructure grants, which are open to individual councils or consortia of councils, will help improve the accessibility of public buildings and facilities for people with disability, so they can participate fully in the community.

This includes making improvements such as access ramps, lifts, hoists and accessible public toilets to community infrastructure including playgrounds, swimming pools, libraries and town halls.

“People with disability and their carers deserve the same opportunities as other Australians in their local community.”

“These grants will give local councils financial assistance to upgrade their public buildings and facilities so people with disability and their carers can participate in the local community.”

The Accessible Communities program delivers on a Gillard Labor Government election commitment and is part of an $11 million accessibility package to support the Government’s National Disability Strategy.

The Strategy will set a 10-year reform plan for all governments to address the barriers faced by Australians with disability and encourage greater social inclusion.

Applications to the Accessible Communities program must be submitted by 2.00pm AEDST 25 March 2011.

The extension will be offered to all applicants; even those local governments that have already completed an application will have the opportunity to resubmit by the extended closing date.

The grants must be matched by applicants with an equal or greater amount of funding.

Eligibility criteria, guidelines and application forms are available at