Good access is good business

Nearly one in four Merri-bek residents have a disability.

Who benefits from good access?

Good access benefits all people, but especially those who:

  • have difficulties moving and may use a wheelchair, electric scooter, walking frame or crutches
  • are blind or deaf or have some trouble seeing or hearing
  • have difficulties reaching and holding things
  • find it hard to speak, understand, or need to rest often due to illness or injury, or
  • have young children, prams or strollers, heavy bags or shopping jeeps.

How you can make your business more accessible

Improving access does not have to be expensive. Council has produced a Good Access is Good Business guide with practical tips. 

You can do things like:

  • train your staff to be respectful
  • be mindful of background noise like music
  • make the entrance easy to see
  • use language like “accessible toilet” (not disabled toilet) and “accessible parking” (not disabled parking)
  • remove dangerous fittings that may injure a blind person, and 
  • put in accessible toilets and ramps.

Your business can have:

  • an accessible website
  • enough space between tables
  • a chair available for people waiting
  • a delivery service or service at home
  • have clear and wide aisles
  • safety markings on glass walls and doors
  • slip-resistant floors
  • signs with contrasting colours and large writing, and
  • an EFTPOS payment system.

You can contact Council to post a copy of the guide to you. 

Reasons for your business to provide good access

People with disability, their families and friends consider how easy it is to access a place when choosing where to shop and socialise. These people could be your customers.

Making your business more accessible makes it safer for customers and staff. This helps you meet your public liability and workplace safety responsibilities.

Improving access to your business will also help you meet your legal responsibilities. Australian law says that customers with disability should be able to access your goods or services just like any other customer. If a customer with disability cannot do this they could make a complaint of discrimination under the Victorian Anti-Discrimination Act or Federal Disability Discrimination Act.

There are also local laws regarding the use of footpaths for trading. Keeping the footpath and entrance to your business clear of obstacles helps you meet these requirements and is more welcoming to all customers.