Advocates for Inclusive Tourism

Working Towards Making the World Accessible For All


Hobsons Bay City Council increases access to Williamstown and Altona beaches for people with a disability

Melbourne Monday 30 November, 2015

Williamstown and Altona beaches are set to become some of metropolitan Melbourne’s first wheelchair accessible beaches under a trial to be held this summer by Hobsons Bay City Council.

Mayor of Hobsons Bay Councillor Peter Hemphill said Council was trialling rubber matting across the sand at Williamstown and a beach wheelchair at Altona in response to calls from the community to make the beaches more accessible.

“In Williamstown we will be trialling rubber matting across the soft sand to the hard sand, which will make it easier for wheelchairs, strollers and walkers to manoeuvre,” said the Mayor.

“In Altona we will be trialling a Sandcruiser beach wheelchair that people with a disability can hire for free to get across the sand and to the water’s edge.

“We are very excited to be the first Council in metro Melbourne to do such a trial and are proud to be able to make Hobsons Bay’s magnificent beaches more accessible.

“Council is committed to working towards achieving a fully accessible and inclusive municipality where all residents, regardless of their ability, can reach their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.”

The Williamstown Swimming and Lifesaving Club and the Altona Life Saving Club will be partners in this trial and managing many of the day to day logistics.

Altona Life Saving Club Captain Dom Santullo said the club looks forward to working with Hobsons Bay City Council to open beach access to more people in the community.

“This initiative is well aligned with the Club’s Mission Statement,” Mr Santullo said.

“We will continue to work with Council and assist with future developments they propose for the community within our scope of service.”

President of the Williamstown Swimming and Lifesaving Club Matt McCarroll said Williamstown Lifesaving Club is delighted to assist with the accessible mats trial to make our beach more accessible.

“Lifesaving is an inclusive Australian institution and this re-enforces that message,” Mr McCarroll said.

The Mayor said that being able to visit the beach and get to the water is something most Australians take for granted, but until now, most people with a disability have had to look on from the sidelines.

“These two trials will allow many people with a disability to get onto the sand and close to the water for the first time in their lives,” said the Mayor.

The pilot trial will run from 5 December 2015 to 27 March 2016 on weekends during lifesaving hours.

Bookings are essential for the beach wheelchair, which is only available for use on Saturday and Sunday.

Bookings can be made during business hours by contacting Council’s Metro Access and Inclusion Officer on 9932 1109 or


To make a booking on the weekend contact the Altona Lifesaving Club on 0425 727 125 or simply drop in to the club on the weekend to see what times are available.

The mat in Williamstown will be rolled out next to the lifesaving club every Saturday and Sunday morning during the trial and everyone is welcome to try it.

Council will be monitoring both trials with an evaluation report and future recommendations will be presented to Council.



TravAbility was founded in 2007 by Bill Forrester and Deborah Davis.

Our mission is to be agents of change; to inspire people who have never traveled before to do so, and to inspire others to do more. To encourage all cultures of the world to see disability as an integral part of life, and to provide the motivation and tools to the tourism industry to allow them to create accessible environments that enable inclusion in an economically sustainable way.

We offer a range of services to tourism operators and Destination Marketing Boards to enable them to take advantage of the growing Accessible Tourism market. Our core approach is program oriented focusing on the product and service needs of people with a disability an developing a culture of innovation to attract this highly profitable and rapidly growing market:

  • Development of Access Statements
  • Product, service and program development
  • Development of "Soft Infrastructure" policies and procedures
  • Staff and Management Training
  • Marketing Services and Toolkits
  • Access information kits
  • Industry Presentations and Conference Keynotes and Capacity Building Workshops
  • Property Audits and Universal Design planning
  • Self Audit Tools
  • National/State/Regional Park Guides and Trail Maps
  • Diversity and Inclusion Strategy development
  • Disability Action Plans
  • New Project planning and Development
  • Stock Imagery through PhotoAbility
  • Accommodation listings through TravAbility Properties

For more information on how you can make your business more attractive to the traveler with a disability contact Bill or Deborah.