How do people with disability feel about accessing Tasmanian beaches? What are the barriers to people enjoying these sites? And what would encourage them to access a beach?

These were some of the questions ParaQuad asked Tasmanians who have mobility issues, in a recent survey.

“We asked them because we hear that our members and many others feel they’re missing out on getting to some of the most beautiful parts of our state, and we wanted to know exactly what the barriers are and what would make for a more inclusive community,” ParaQuad Tasmania CEO Carmel Clark said.

Access to beaches is significant for a broad range of people. Families, parents with prams and people with mobility issues. An inclusive community is one that enhances accessibility.

ParaQuad circulated a survey to our members and through partner organisations and councils.

Our respondents were:

-close to fifty-fifty male and female
-close to fifty-fifty male and female
-30% in the 55-64 age group
-around 30% in the 45-54 age group
-around 12% in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups
A quarter of respondents have a Spinal Cord Injury. Just over half are manual wheelchair users and another quarter use some kind of mobility aid.
A massive 80% reported a lack of ramps as a barrier in attempting to access a beach.
Other barriers:

-80% said they had difficulty getting across the sand

-56% said they found a lack of suitable change and toilet facilities and

-56% said a barrier was accessible car parking

Other issues they identified were the “distance to the beach, often over difficult terrain”, that there’s “no one to help me when I go” and a lack of “ramp access to water.”

Importantly, when asked if the use of beach matting would encourage them to access a beach, 95% of respondents said yes.

And if beaches were accessible – what activities would they enjoy?

-72% would enjoy sitting on the beach

-64% would spend time with family and friends

-60% would enjoy swimming

Simply sitting on the beach was a popular answer, with the addition that seating that’s fit for purpose would be needed. In particular something that has rails to assist movement and isn’t too low.
ParaQuad Tasmania believes many of the state’s beaches should be more accessible.

Accessibility is important for everyone – families, parents with prams, and people with mobility issues. An inclusive community is one that enhances accessibility. 

Our survey clearly shows that people with mobility issues would enjoy getting to the beach if it was made easier for them. The addition of beach matting would significantly increase beach accessibility.

“We know that a number of Tasmanian Councils have bought beach chairs which will support some people to access beaches. Unfortunately the lack of beach matting means that beach chair users are limited to those who have the support of at least one other person to help them manoeuvre it across the sand.

“Independence is important to everyone. If people with mobility issues could access a beach at any time and not be dependent on other people, then that gives them autonomy and supports inclusivity,” Carmel added.

ParaQuad Tasmania is in discussion with a number of Tasmanian councils about improving access to beaches.  We thank everyone who responded to our survey and we’ll continue to advocate for greater accessibility for people with spinal cord injury and physical disabilities.


The first international standard for accessible tourism has recently been released, It’s called ISO 21902 – Tourism and related services – Accessible tourism for all – Requirements and recommendations. The new standard is described by the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) as providing ‘requirements and guidelines to facilitate equal access and enjoyment of tourism by people of all ages and abilities.’  Great news for advancing accessibility for everyone.

More on the standard can be found here.