Building Back Better

Why ICC Sydney’s Inclusion Plan Matters 

17th May 2024

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disability. And, with the launch of their new Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) reaffirmed their commitment to increasing inclusion – seeking to remove external barriers that impact the day-to-day experiences of people with a disability.

Words Guy Hall

This not only makes ICC Sydney an appealing destination for associations with accessibility considerations at the core of their venue selection process, but the DIAP also serves as an important reminder for associations still in the early stages of their disability inclusion journey.

Inclusion For All  

The Disability Inclusion Action Plan is not ICC Sydney’s first effort at making the venue more accessible. In 2023, for example, it was the first Australian convention centre to develop an Accessible and Inclusive Events Guide for conference organisers looking to host more inclusively. In addition, the venue already works with groups such as Autism Spectrum Australia and The Sunflower Project to ensure internal policies, procedures and cultural practices are accessible and inclusive to people of all abilities.

Launched on April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, the new DIAP seeks to build on this work and leverage the venue’s varied resources to ensure it is readily accessible and welcoming for people with a disability. 

The DIAP was developed in consultation with disability inclusion advisors Get Skilled Access and, according to Geoff Donaghy, CEO of ICC Sydney, is “a blueprint for enhancing [the venue’s] services so that every visitor feels a sense of belonging and inclusion”. 

The Plan covers four key pillars – Culture, Built and Digital Environment, Employment, and Systems and Processes – and seeks to improve disability inclusion in each of these areas through education, training and the implementation of new procedures. 

Accessible Events 

Initiatives included in the DIAP aim to support not just the ICC Sydney’s workforce, but all those who attend the wide-ranging events at this harbourside venue. 

For example, the DIAP outlines a plan whereby all people wishing to access the stages at ICC Sydney are able to do so – by ensuring stairs to stages all have handrails, by purchasing adjustable lecterns and, if needed, by implementing an onsite ramp that can be used if the wheelchair lift is broken. Elsewhere in the Plan, ICC Sydney commit to consulting with clients prior to their event, to ensure that the set-up is appropriate for all needs.  

For accessibility-conscious associations, such commitments have a strong appeal. It is crucial to have enthusiastic buy-in from stakeholders across the supply chain, especially when considering accessibility issues, and so partnering with a venue that shares your values and goals can dramatically help with ease of planning and contribute to successful events.

Accessibility For Associations 

ICC Sydney’s DIAP is also a reminder of the growing awareness and value placed upon accessibility in all facets of today’s society – including the world of associations.

Associations have a responsibility to ensure that every member, regardless of ability, has an equal opportunity to participate and contribute. By championing accessibility, associations reassert their commitment to fairness and equity for all members within their community.  

Taking accessibility seriously also has numerous benefits for associations themselves. By prioritising inclusion, associations become welcoming and safe communities for professionals with disabilities and, in the process, broaden their reach and strengthen their community – attracting a wider pool of members and better retaining existing members with disabilities. 

Create an inclusive, innovative and sustainable event experience at ICC Sydney. Contact ICC Sydney’s team today.:

Helen Mantellato – Senior Manager, Business Development Manager, International & Exhibitions

In consequence, the membership experience is enhanced for all. Events, workshops and conferences become better informed, more widely beneficial and valuable when people with diverse experiences and perspectives are able to participate. Improved accessibility allows all members to better learn from and connect with one another.

Working Together

Work on initiatives like enhancing accessibility is always best done in partnership. Many associations around the world are now taking bold steps to make their organisation more inclusive, and venues like ICC Sydney are matching, and enhancing, their efforts. 

With the announcement of their DIAP, ICC Sydney are positioning themselves as a strong partner for associations looking to make progress in this area, and laying the foundations for fruitful collaborations which will ultimately provide benefits for our society at large. 

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