I have been working as a counsellor and educator for people with disabilities for the past 18 years.
During this time, there has been a growth in the recognition of the important contribution that dogs make in assisting people with disabilities.
Specialised training has increased the use of dogs to become seeing eye dogs, seizure alert dogs and assistance dogs for a wide range of other disabilities.
Many people with disabilities also rely on their companion dogs to provide them with safety and security.
It is a major concern that Bass Coast Shire Council has seen it appropriate to prohibit dogs from its beaches every day between 9am and 6pm.
This is contrary to its publicised aim to make beaches more accessible to people with disabilities.
According to the Bass Coast Shire Council’s website, the Disability Action Plan 2011-2025 has an objective to “improve access and inclusion for people with disability to public places, including beaches”.
Mark Green, Peer Support Leader, Counsellor and Educator, Epilepsy Foundation, Surrey Hills.