Choosing a venue
Accessible venue considerations
To host an event where everyone feels safe and respected and able to fully participate, it is best practice to meet the requirements listed in this section.
It is a good idea to inspect the venue before the event to identify any issues that may act as barriers for people with disability accessing the space safely and with dignity.
Is the proposed venue accessible?
Consider the accessibility of potential venues. Before the event, conduct an accessibility audit in person and consider what needs to be done to make the venue more accessible.
Is the pathway to the venue entrance safe and accessible?
Surfaces such as gravel and grass pose risks for many people, including wheelchair and mobility aid users, people who have impaired vision, older people and people with prams. Firm, even surfaces are best. Slip-resistant surfaces may need to be temporarily installed.
Are there steps at the entrance or inside the venue?
If steps are permanent, handrails must be in place. Where there are stairs, a nearby step-free accessible pathway is required with appropriate signage to indicate how to find it.
Is there a ramp at the entrance of the venue?
For the venue to be accessible, a ramp must be provided, no steeper than 1-in-14 incline as per Australian Standard 1428.1. If there is no permanent ramp, a temporary ramp must be installed. All primary venue entrances should have level access or an accessible ramp.
Can the venue be accessed by a lift?
Providing a lift is not always possible but may be important depending on your intended audience. Many people may find steps or a ramp inaccessible.
Is the venue doorway wide enough for people using a wheelchair or mobility aid?
To provide accessible entry, the minimum doorway clearance must be 850mm.
Are all doors at the venue easy to open and keep open during access?
Heavy doors present an issue for many people, including people with disability, older people and children. Reduce door force to 20N max. or hold doors open where possible.
Is the entrance foyer clear of obstacles?
Power cords, furniture and any trip hazards must be removed, secured or covered to provide easy and safe access. Place seating and furniture away from the main access.
Are clear signs positioned outside the venue?
Signs written in a large font should indicate:
- the accessible entrance to the venue
- location of accessible parking areas
- drop-off points
Depending on your audience, signs can be displayed in diverse languages and include cultural protocols. Consider the colours, contrasting elements and surfaces to ensure easy readability and reduced reflection. Consider options for voiced information, QR codes and text that can be read by reading apps.
Is there a registration table or registration area in the foyer of the venue?
Tables need to be at a height accessible for wheelchair or mobility aid users. Registration information should be available in a range of formats, including web-based, large print and audio, with sufficient trained and identifiable staff to assist attendees.
Does the venue have fixed seating?
If seating is fixed, check to see if some seats can be removed or if there is an accessible area which can be used for wheelchair or mobility aid users and those attending with carers/companions. People using wheelchairs or mobility aids should not be relegated to areas where event participation is restricted; consider how to best include people with disability. Provide various seating options for example, front and back.
Is there a permanent or temporary stage being used at the event?
Participants must be able to easily access the stage by a ramp or steps. All access requirements for participants, guest speakers and the MC must be identified before the event to ensure easy and safe access to and from the stage.
Is there an area designated to view an Auslan interpreter?
People who use sign language must have seating near the Auslan interpreter with an unobstructed view of that person.
Are power points available to recharge mobility aids/scooters?
If the event is an all-day event you may need to provide access to power for mobility aid users. Power points need to be in a location and at a height that are easily accessible.
Is there a quiet room available?
People with neuro-sensitivity can require a quiet place to be away from noise for a period of time. It’s good to have seating and kits to help reduce sensory overload, for example fidget spinners, earplugs and quiet play items.