Walk in the Park Program

Written on the 7 December 2011

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) — Last week I had the great pleasure of representing the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, at the launch of the Walk in the Park program at the Bellbird Picnic Area at Yarra Bend Park in Kew. The program will enable more people who are blind or vision impaired to have greater accessibility to our parks.


The numbers of people who suffer from blindness or vision impairment are steadily increasing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that by 2020 there will be 421 600 Australians suffering blindness or some form of vision impairment. The Walk in the Park program is a partnership between Blind Sports Victoria and Parks Victoria and is aimed at reducing the barriers to Victoria’s parks for visitors who are blind or vision impaired. Parks Victoria has ensured that Victoria continues to lead the way in accessibility strategies for Victoria’s parks for people with a disability.


The president of Blind Sports Victoria, Maurice Gleeson, has been a driving force for people who are blind or are vision impaired and a fierce advocate for greater participation. Maurice is certainly an inspiration to many, and he spoke about the program and all those who have been involved in managing the program from concept to operation. The program will enable significant numbers of blind or vision impaired people to visit many of Melbourne’s wonderful parks. Yarra Bend Park is one such park. It is situated only 4 kilometres from the central business district and boasts the largest natural bushland within inner Melbourne. It was a perfect setting for the many people who attended the launch who are blind or vision impaired — they could enjoy the surrounds of Yarra Bend Park and have an escorted visit throughout the park.

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