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I have fought bushfires racing up the hills around Heyfield. I have scheduled television commercials in freezing Ballarat. I have even tossed bean sprouts in a shed in Sydney. I now live in rural Victoria where I write science fiction. Literature, science, technology, the environment and gardening are some of my many interests.
Many people with disabilities have made major contributions to Australian society. But we do not seem to hear about them. There have been writers, media barons and politicians with disabilities. We even have had a saint with a disability. Although these people are well-known, their disabilities seem to have been forgotten. Highlighting their disabilities can help to dispel negative ideas about people with disabilities.
In January a medicine I depend on became suddenly unavailable. I tried to find it at pharmacies all around my region and then online, without any luck. I even thought about buying it from an overseas supplier. After a bit of research it became clear that specific medicine shortages are not uncommon in Australia, as many of them are manufactured by only one or two overseas companies. If there is a problem in the supply chain, then unexpected shortages can follow.
Our footpaths are becoming more crowded. Not just with people, but with tables and chairs, signs and clothes racks. Cars are parked on footpaths and gardens block them. These obstacles make it hard for pedestrians with disabilities. Councils have rules about keeping footpaths obstacle free. Gardens should not overhang footpaths. Outdoor dining areas should leave sufficient space for pedestrians. It is illegal to park a car on a footpath. In Victoria, motorcycles can be parked on footpaths if sufficient space is left for pedestrians. Please do your bit to keep our footpaths free of obstacles.
The media often uses inappropriate words when talking about people with disabilities. So a set of guidelines have been written to help the media portray people with a disability. The "Reporting it Right" guidelines are written by the Department of Human Services. The guidelines ask people with disabilities be portrayed as people first. They also suggest not using very emotive language when describing people with disabilities. To help the media, the guidelines list acceptable terms for describing disabilities.
I live in Wangaratta in country Victoria and often feel isolated. I wish there were more people who thought like me, and more opportunities, in Wangaratta. Luckily, the World Wide Web reduces this isolation. I use the web to work, study, express my views and shop. I have joined campaigns on subjects like climate change. I feel like my opinion matters. Most of all I use the web to write and connect with other writers. I write science fiction and am a member of three online writing groups. I have become very dependent on the web.