Kardinia Park takes major step to inclusivity
GEELONG footy fans with a disability will now enjoy a more comfortable day out with the opening of a Changing Places accessible bathroom facility.
GMHBA Stadium stakeholders unveiled the new facility last week at the northern end of the Brownlow Stand.
The reveal also included an official welcome for a mural painted on the neighbouring wall created by Geelong artist Liam O’Neill, who began painting to manage and express his experience living with autism.
The Brownlow Stand facilities were the first of two Changing Places facilities for Geelong’s biggest stadium, with a second due for construction outside as part of its Stage 5 development that would provide 24-hour access as well as on matchdays.
Changing Places provide suitable facilities for people unable to use standard toilets, including change tables, hoists, privacy screens and extra-wide doorframes.
Kardinia Park Stadium Trust chief executive officer Gerard Griffin said the new facility would support the trust’s commitment to inclusivity.
“The Trust’s mission is about evolving, enhancing and expanding people’s experiences. I can’t help but think that today, in opening our Changing Places facility, we’re taking a big step forward in that mission and what we’re trying to be.
“We want Kardinia Park to be an inviting place of Geelong. A place for all people to feel home, included and welcomed.
“Two of our values are equity and care, and I’m really proud to open these facilities today and see those values come to life.”
Geelong resident Vicki Dawson, a passionate Cats supporter who lives with a disability and is a wheelchair user, said the new changerooms would make her trips to the footy more enjoyable.
“It helps me come and feel more comfortable, knowing I can do what I need to do in private.”
Disability and Carers Minister Andrew Carbines, Geelong MP Christine Couzens and Lara MP John Eren joined Kardinia Park Stadium Trust officials and future facility users and their carers at last week’s opening.
“Changing Places facilities are a nation leading standard for public amenities. This new facility will ensure families, carers, and those living with disability, peace of mind when they’re out at a game,” Mr Carbines said.
“We’re ensuring there are more accessible facilities across Victoria, levelling the playing field so that all people, regardless of ability, can get out and enjoy the game.”