CHW leads the way in assistance and inclusion

Central Highlands Water (CHW) is implementing changes that will make a big difference to both team members and customers, by taking new steps in assistance and inclusion.

Central Highlands Water (CHW) is implementing changes that will make a big difference to team members and customers by taking new steps in assistance and inclusion.

In a first for Ballarat, CHW has recently installed an assistance dog relieving area for CHW team members’ assistance dogs. It also features Braille signage to explain how the area is used. 

Managing Director Jeff Haydon said, “This area will provide a dedicated, safe, clean and purpose-built space for our team members’ assistance dogs to use during all weather.” 

“The project is an important part of our ongoing efforts to improve accessibility and inclusivity for all team members,” Haydon said. 

The area is about the size of a bus shelter. It is made of pet premium synthetic grass on top of absorbent infill sand. The natural mineral sand absorbs dog urine on contact, preventing ammonia from being released into the air. The sands now prevent the production of a strong urine smell. An environmentally friendly cleaning agent is applied periodically. The area has a roof for shelter and a screen for privacy. 

Assistance and inclusion central to CHW thinking

Chris Edwards, Manager of Government Relations & Advocacy at Vision Australia (and a Seeing Eye Dog client matched with Seeing Eye Dog, Eva), said, “Dog relieving areas are so important for people with dog guides as they provide a permanent location that you know is there, instead of having to spend time finding areas for your dog to relieve itself. This task can be especially frustrating for someone blind or with low vision. It just makes life that little bit easier.” 

CHW has also recently installed hearing loops at the front reception at our Learmonth Road office. Hearing loops are an assistive listening system that can transmit sounds to the telecoil in a hearing aid or other hearing device. These assist customers with hearing loss to interact with our team members. CHW also has portable hearing loops available for team members who are hearing impaired or have neurological hearing sensitivity. They can also be taken to events and education sessions. 

“We are proud to lead by example and identify areas of improvement, then make practical changes that make a big difference to people’s everyday lives. We want to ensure that both current and future employees have access to whatever they need to succeed,” said Haydon. 

CHW has also implemented quiet spaces for neurodivergent team members, small informal meeting areas and collaboration spaces. Plans are underway for changes to accessible parking and accessible toilets for customers. 

As part of the Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Action Plan 2021–25, all our sites will be accessible by 2025. 

Read the entire action plan here.

Related Articles:

Send this to a friend