Australind is a good place to live if you want to feel connected to the community, according to resident Lawrence Mitting who has resided in the South West for most of his life.
Mr Mitting, along with a group of people in the South-West met to discuss what the Shire and Australian government provide to people with disability.
After a number of discussions had taken place they collaborated to write an article, Disability Policy and Lived Experience: Reflections from regional Australia which is featured in an international academic book, Social Policy First Hand, available at the Harvey Shire libraries.
Mr Mitting’s experience living in Australind has been positive, as he has a strong support network, he can get around easily with reliable public transport and because of his concession discount, it is affordable for him to access the Leschenault Leisure Centre.
“The discounted rate at Leschenault Leisure Centre helps me out like anything,” he said.
“I have a range of connections in Australind, including at Coles and the florist and they always think very highly of me.
“I don’t have to go into Bunbury, I can get the bus to Perth from Australind and this is great when I go up to Perth for the footy because I am in the Docker’s cheer squad.”
Mr Mitting has sensory perception issues, therefore the range of pathways in the Shire that are on flat, firm surfaces means he can enjoy the natural assets the Shire has to offer.
He said in public spaces it was easy to navigate because of the clear signage, including the accessible toilet signs.
ECU lecturer and one of the co-authors of the article Adam Johnson said Lawrence relied heavily on the public transport system, as he caught the bus almost every day to get around the region.
Mr Johnson said there were many aspects to Australind, including a good network of footpaths that made it an accessible place for people with disability to live and recreate.
He commended Lawrence on his ability to encourage other people with disability to have a voice and his enthusiasm to be connected in the community.
“I think there are a lot of people with disabilities who don’t get involved, with voting and things because they don’t have that voice, but that is one of the things Lawrence is very passionate about,” he said.
“Lawrence has always had friends in high places.”
Lawrence spoke of his relationship with Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino, stating “we are very good friends.”
He even said “she will show a copy of the book to the Prime Minister, who is known as ScoMo,” in reference to the Social Policy First Hand book which he showed Mrs Marino.
“I love being able to participate in my community and voting in the elections is really important,” he said.
Lawrence said he encourages his friends to vote and have a voice in their community.
It doesn’t matter where Lawrence travels he said having “easy access to my community, makes the journey home worth it.”