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Accessibility News Round-Up: December 2023

There is so much exciting news at the moment – movies, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and more – that it’s easy to miss something amazing. Here’s a round-up of everything that’s caught my attention lately. If you have any hot tips, please share them in the comments or over on our Facebook page!

Accessibility News Round Up December 2023 - text overlaid above an image of Hubby and Brady on a jet-ski in the water with the Gold Coast city visible on the horizon behind them

Bus Stop Films 2023 Showcase

Eighteen “inclusively made” short films produced through Bus Stop Films’ Accessible Film Studies Program are heading out on a national tour!

The films were made by 180 filmmakers, all young adults with intellectual disabilities or autism. They worked with their tutors and industry mentors to create dramas, documentaries, comedies – even a WWE-inspired rock musical!

Tracey Corbin Matchett OAM with Ashley Khule and Chris Bunton in front of a banner with the Bus Stop Films logo

Bus Stop Films is a disability-led not-for-profit social enterprise that uses filmmaking and the film industry to raise the profile of people with disabilities, on both sides of the camera. They make films with, for and about people with disabilities, and from diverse communities and backgrounds.

Each film screening will be captioned, and all events will be Auslan interpreted. Check out when they’re coming to your area:

  • Brisbane, QLD: 5 December
  • Launceston, TAS: 6 December
  • Melbourne, VIC: 7 December
  • Adelaide, SA: 12 December
  • Canberra, ACT: 13 December
  • Sydney, NSW: 14 December

Book tickets here.

Martin Place Christmas Markets

Looking to fill Santa’s sack, or just want to soak up the magic of Christmas in the city? Head down to the Martin Place Christmas Markets in Sydney this year, running Thursday-Saturday until 23 December (11AM-8PM). There are gorgeous handmade gifts on sale, and delicious food stalls to fuel up.

A stallholder holding up a handmade orange top at the Martin Place Christmas Markets

While you’re there, you can check out the Christmas tree and fairy lights, check out the carollers, and head over to Santa’s Workshop Photo Booth.

If you’re taking public transport, Martin Place Station offers step-free access with a lift between Phillip Street and Macquarie Street. There is also an accessible unisex toilet in the station.

Destination Gold Coast Accessible Visitor Guide


We all know the amount of research, time, and effort that goes into planning a holiday when you have a disability – sometimes, it just doesn’t feel worth it, especially when your dream destination doesn’t make the information you need easy to find and understand.

That’s why the Destination Gold Coast Accessible Visitor Guide is such a breath of fresh air. They’ve put together a document that covers everything – accommodation, attractions, transportation – with detailed information (down to the millimeter!) about accessibility.

The cover of the Destination Gold Coast Accessible Visitor Guide

Wondering whether the hotel you’re looking at has a pool hoist or lowered amenities? Need a mode of transport that’s suitable for people with limited mobility? Looking for the perfect beach day spot with matting and wheelchairs available? It has all the answers in one place!

We’ve visited the Gold Coast many times as a family, but we’re extra-excited to go back now that we’ve got the Accessible Visitor Guide – there are tips and recommendations in there we haven’t seen before!

It’s available for free (PDF download) via their website.

South Bank Christmas Show

Join a chorus of elves as chaos hits Santa’s Workshop the night before Christmas! An all-singing, all-dancing spectacle for all ages. The South Bank Christmas Show features a live band, talented singers, energetic dancers, and a special appearance from Santa himself.

Children being entertained by performers at the South Bank Christmas Show

The South Bank Christmas Show will have an Auslan interpreter for both shows on Tuesday 19 December. Running time is 45 minutes. Doors open 30 minutes before each performance. Pram parking is available at all sessions.

Bookings required. To book visit Ticketek. Tickets are $12 per person. For special access, wheelchair or companion card seating, call Ticketek’s Accessible Seating booking line on 1300 665 915.

Accessibility at Sydney New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Even though we’re all eagerly counting down sleeps ’til Santa comes, bear in mind that we need to plan for New Year’s Eve, too! The City of Sydney council has released detailed information about the traditional fireworks show, including the best accessible vantage points.

People watching the Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks in 2022
Credit: Paul McMIllan

There are designated accessible viewing areas reserved for people with access needs, at Pirrama Park, Observatory Hill Park, Barangaroo, Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain, Sydney Opera House, and Cahill Expressway. Bookings are essential for these areas, so get in quick. If you miss out, the vantage point map for the event also shows general public viewing areas that have accessible features. There are accessible pick-up and drop-off zones on Shakespeare Place at Macquarie Street, and Argyle Street between Kent and Lower Fort streets.

A Changing Places facility will be available at Abraham Mott Hall (15A Argyle Place, Millers Point), from 10AM on New Year’s Eve to 1AM on New Year’s Day, with an adult size adjustable change table, ceiling hoists, and space for up to 2 assistants.

If you’d rather enjoy the spectacle from home, ABC Radio will broadcast a live audio description of the midnight fireworks, and there will be a TV broadcast on ABC and iView with live closed captions available.

Find out more on the Sydney New Year’s Eve website.

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