Friday, March 22, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Driving Equity Project: Bridging Accessibility Gaps In Mackay

Janice Quadrio is a passionate accredited Mental Health Social Worker who has become an advocate for individuals who have been unable to learn how to drive due to disability and inaccessible services in the community.

Currently there are no vehicles available in the Mackay region that cater to individuals with a disability, forcing those who need training to undertake a lengthy trip to Rockhampton or Townsville for an assessment where they can access a vehicle with specific modifications to suit their needs.

While already facing challenges in everyday life, the added burden of finding accommodation as well as a costly trip makes it difficult for those with a disability to partake in the required driving amount of 30 hours to obtain a license, which Janice says, “is just not practical for both the individual or carer.”

“Think about what your drivers licence means to you – in terms of freedom, access to all of the fabulous things in our community, even employability,” she said.

“It’s that and more for someone with a disability or someone that already has challenges in that area.

“It’s a real social justice issue.”

Since raising her concern, Mackay Community Foundation has jumped on board and provided $9,720 to fund the modification of a vehicle as well as training of an existing qualified driving instructor to provide local access to specialised driving lessons for people with a disability.

Phoenix Place Inc is a disability support service that has also supported the idea by orchestrating the funding from the Mackay Community foundation along with Driving instructor Connie, from ‘You Can Do It’ driving school who kindly offered to have her car modified to suit the specific requirements needed for training and assessment in the community.

With these four powerhouse supporters coming together to make the vision happen, the Mackay region now provides an accessible service to those who need it.

Offering the opportunity for anybody with a disability, of all ages, whether they have had a disability all their life or for those who have had a recent stroke or accident and are needing extra support to be able to continue driving.

Janice reflected on her gratitude for all the supporting contributors that have allowed her idea to come to fruition.

“I was able to get a grant from an organisation whose moto is ‘give where you live,’ which is just great!

“Without all the players coming together it couldn’t have happened.

“The vehicle is now fitted out and ready to rock and roll!

“Whatever enriches some in our community, enriches all in our community,” Janice added.

“This project involves a lot of local organisations and charities to make it happen, it's about empowering people with disability to help them learn to drive and get their license.”

If you would like to donate, you can donate via the Mackay Community Foundation or Phoenix Place Inc.

Photo Credit: Mackay Community Foundation (Facebook)

Accredited Mental Health Social worker, Janice, with Driving Instructor Connie from ‘You Can Do It Driving School’ and the vehicle now available for community use.

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