Op ed published in The Standard

Hi folks! Just a short note to say I had an opinion piece published in my local paper about disability access in Warrnambool. The state of shop access and disabled parking bays in town is abysmal, yet with council elections coming up, no candidate has made disability advocacy a priority. I want that to change.

A clip from a local newspaper's website. Headline reads: Warrnambool's Siobhan Simper calls for better disabled access in the CBD. There is a photo of a young woman in the main street with her hands on her hips. Caption reads:

My piece was published mostly as written, with a minor omission of a councillor’s disturbing attitude towards those who use disabled bays due to lack of right of reply (and most likely, fear of this particular councillor’s reprisal). As I obviously DGAF if I receive an angry phone call, I’ll repeat his quote here:

“I’m consistently seeing people who are very sound of body using the parks. Most people would consider they are for people with a physical disability.”

It has upsetting implications for those with an invisible illness, and illustrates perfectly the ignorant attitudes Warrnambool’s council has towards those with a disability.

You can read my piece on the Standard website, or in Saturday’s printed edition (08/10/16).



Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

2 thoughts on “Op ed published in The Standard”

  1. This is an issue where I live as well, which is a major city. If you have a disabled permit, you can park in metered spots for free, but good luck finding a metered spot near your destination. I haven’t found the teaspoons to get a disabled permit mostly because I assume it will be a huge obstacle, plus I can often find spots close enough in parking lots to not make a huge difference. My major issue is that I can’t carry heavy things for very long at all before I cause pain that will take days or weeks to improve. At stores with lots, I can usually use a cart to carry things to my car. But stores that don’t have lots don’t typically have carts for you to just take down the sidewalk willy-nilly (which I understand). And the real issue is that when I get home, I often have to park very far away from my apartment because my neighborhood has exploded in popularity and apparently everyone moving here has three cars that they never drive? So what I really need more than anything is a dedicated spot in front of my apartment, but you have to apply for and pay a fee (!) for a dedicated disabled spot on a residential street. I also worry that people who see me get out of my car and walk unassisted into my apartment might vandalize my car or something. People get very fired up about people they don’t think deserve the placards, and I don’t want them to take it out on me. 😦


    1. This all seems ridiculous and unfair. Cities should make it easy for residents with disabilities to get around, not put obstacles in your place. I’ve had a few messages saying “yes but you won’t get booked if you park for longer” which kinda wasn’t the point – there are no parks in the first place.

      I recently bought one of those wheelie shopping trolley things and it’s made my life a lot easier – the ones you pull behind you. I can load up all my groceries in it and wheel it to the car without making myself sick carrying all those bags. I’d recommend it!


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