22.1 C
Byron Shire
May 16, 2022

Full inclusion a long way off: Tweed Paralympian

Latest News

Interviews with Richmond candidates 2022: Independent Terry Sharples

Terry Sharples is a retired accountant living in the Tweed Shire and running as an Independent for the federal...

Other News

Releasing the chokehold on Australia’s water

What the trading of 40 gigalitres of water from the Barmah Choke means for the Murray Darling Basin.

Lennox Longboard ‘One Dayer’ going ahead

The organisers of the 2022 Rip Curl Lennox Longboard 'One Dayer' are hoping it will be third time lucky after their event was postponed due to COVID and then catastrophic flooding. The event is now scheduled for this Sunday, 15 May.

Locals gear up for BJJ Open this weekend

By Ross Kendall After strong results earlier this year the Mullumbimby-based Point Break Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) team are ready...

Emergency housing at Wollongbar getting close

Temporary housing for flood-affected people is almost ready for the first occupants at Wollongbar, near Alstonville, in Ballina Shire.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Aborting Freedom

Why are women still having to fight for bodily autonomy? What’s happening in the US right now could have more sinister implications for the reproductive rights of women all around the world. And let’s be clear, data from the World Health Organisation shows that banning abortion has no effect on abortion rates throughout the world. It does however have an impact on women’s safety and their mortality. 

Local tennis players serve up success

By Ross Kendall Junior tennis players from Mullumbimby and Byron Bay have collected impressive results at the Tweed Heads Open...

aralympic gold medallist Tracey Barrell of Tweed Heads will speak at the Tweed Access and Inclusion Awards on November 30.
aralympic gold medallist Tracey Barrell of Tweed Heads will speak at the Tweed Access and Inclusion Awards on November 30.

The guest speaker at this year’s Tweed Access and Inclusion Awards says she has seen little evidence that Australians had become more accepting or inclusive of people with disability.

Paralympic gold medallist Tracy Barrell, of Tweed Heads, has spent a lifetime teaching people about acceptance and inclusion.

Back in 1992 Ms Barrell, who was born without legs and with one arm, was dual gold medallist in swimming at the Paralympics in Barcelona.

Since then she has become an advocate for people with a disability and has broken many barriers though her determination to be active in mainstream community.

But Ms Barrell feels progress in Australian society has been very slow.

‘That makes initiatives like the Access Awards all the more important, to change attitudes towards people with disability and the roles they can play in community,’ she said.

Attitude and treatment

‘Accessibility is not all about physical ability, it really comes down to attitude and how people treat anyone with disability. In my 42 years, I’ve experienced all sorts of attitudes and it’s been a real rollercoaster life.’

Ms Barrell attended a mainstream school and was very active in family activities such as horse riding and swimming. She joined the local Venturer group and participated in the camping, abseiling, caving and canoeing.

She went on to receive an Order of Australia medal for her contribution to swimming and later forged a career as a project manager, guest speaker and an advocate for people with disability, particularly for Aboriginal communities.

However, she has still personally experienced how difficult it can be for people with disability to get employment.

‘It’s still really hard for them to get a job or to be accepted as a valuable member of the community,’ she said.

‘That’s why it’s really important for these awards to recognise people going above and beyond to ensure everyone can be included.’

Life of adaptation

Ms Barrell, a member of the Bungdurra mob from Gundungurra country at Goulburn, has now started indigenous cultural tours tailored for people with disability.

It is the latest innovation in a life of adaptation, which began when she was 12 months old and she taught herself to use a wheelchair to move around. The skateboard is still her transportation of choice and has become one of her signatures.

However, arguably her source of greatest satisfaction is raising two sons as a single parent.

‘I take pride knowing I am raising two well-adjusted children who have a great ability to accept anyone and everyone,’ she said. ‘Every day I motivate them to be the best they can be, as they see me getting on with life with a smile on my face and my can-do attitude.’

Tweed mayor Katie Milne, said, ‘Tracey’s life is such an inspiration to us all. To have achieved all the things she has is just incredible.’

‘I want to know how she has done it and I encourage everyone to come along to hear her speak. I’m sure it will be empowering and enriching, and completely change our perceptions of disability,’ Ms Milne said.

Ms Barrell will speak at the Tweed Access and Inclusion Awards presentation dinner at Twin Towns on Wednesday November 30.

One week remains for nominations, which close on Friday 30 September. Visit the awards webpage or phone (02) 6670 2400.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Releasing the chokehold on Australia’s water

What the trading of 40 gigalitres of water from the Barmah Choke means for the Murray Darling Basin.

COVID-19 update: May 16

The Northern NSW Local Health District says that to 4pm yesterday, 15 May, 384 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the District, including 82 positive PCR tests and 302 positive rapid antigen tests.

‘Unprecedented’ but not unpredicted – we are now suffering from our failure to listen to scientists’ predictions of the impacts of climate change 30...

As Australians head into another election season just as many parts of the east coast are recovering from ‘unprecedented’ flooding since February, and the national psyche is still reeling from the trauma of the ‘unprecedented’ Black Summer bushfires before that, it is critical now more than ever to vote according to your environmental conscience and fear for the future.

2022 Community Building Partnership Program

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin is encouraging local not-for-profit groups and councils to apply for their share of $400,000 in grants under the 2022 Community Building Partnership Program.