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Trio of conferences showcase accessibility in action at MCEC

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Trio of conferences showcase accessibility in action at MCEC
Disability, accessibility and autism conferences at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) this year are packed with accessible and inclusive services.

Services and considerations include everything from providing wheelchair friendly buggies to low sensory rooms and turning off the hand dryers in the bathrooms.

The convention centre held the Australian Disability Network IMPACT Conference last week and is hosting the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) Annual Meeting this week, while the Victorian Tourism Industry Council’s (VTIC) Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Conference will be held at MCEC in August.

For the IMPACT conference, Auslan interpreters, accommodation for service animals, low sensory spaces and stage ramps were provided to maximise the accessibility of the event.

Catering for the event included tray as well as table service, while buggies helped delegates get around MCEC’s sizeable footprint.

For the autism meeting this week, about one in 10 delegates attending are expected to have autism.

To provide an inclusive environment, stage lights have been adjusted to reduce sensory overload, low sensory spaces are available and there is a dedicated networking space for autistic researchers.

In addition, small tweaks to the event experience have been made to maximise comfort for those with differing needs, including having all black chairs in meeting rooms, turning off the hand dryers in the bathrooms and ensuring there is enough space to stand and walk around at the back of meeting spaces without causing session disruption.

Travellers Aid, which provided the buggies on event days at the IMPACT conference is a recent addition to the accessibility and inclusion stream of the convention centre’s positive impact guide for event organisers.

For VTIC’s accessible tourism conference, they will provide buggies alongside motorised wheelchairs and personal care support for attendees.

“We’re proud to work closely with event organisers and collaborate with leading accessibility service providers like Travellers Aid to improve inclusivity and support delegates to meaningfully participate and engage in events at MCEC,” said MCEC’s head of advocacy, impact and reputation, Rohan Astley.

“We’re thrilled to host the Australian Disability Network IMPACT Conference and INSAR at MCEC, and demonstrate our commitment to inclusivity as part of the events.

“Through our Positive Impact Guide, we aim to provide event organisers with tangible resources to deliver more accessible events, providing a welcoming environment for all attendees.”

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