New film shines light on beach accessibility and inclusion

Aussie beaches and our coastal lifestyle are ingrained in our national culture and identity. A new short film by Surf Life Saving NSW has been released to showcase how creating an inclusive beach experience for people with disability is benefiting our Australian community.

The acclaimed short film, Taking Back the Waves, was funded by the NSW Government and developed as part of the Surf Life Saving NSW Community Inclusion Program. The film focusses on three trial sites in NSW and explores some of the inspirational work being done by community groups and Surf Lifesavers in Pambula in the state’s south, Bondi and Collaroy in Sydney and Nobbys and Newcastle beaches.

Surf Life Saving NSW identified that people of all abilities have a role to play in the life of any local community. Creating an inclusive beach experience for people with disability, their families and friends was seen as essential in promoting equity and breaking down barriers.

“Surf Life Saving is looking at new ways we can be more inclusive. Within our own membership, we would love to increase participation in sport and recreational activities by people with disability. In addition, we want to work with the community to assist with better access to beach precincts for everybody,” said Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce.

A scene from the short film.

The film was produced by Sydney-based creative agency, Taste Creative.

“We are very proud to partner with Surf Life Saving NSW to bring this important message to our screens,” said Taste Creative Managing Director, Henry Smith. “It is so easy to take our beaches for granted, but if you’re a person living with a disability, this can be a completely different story. Our beautiful Australian coastline should be accessible to everyone – we are an inclusive country and so we need to ensure our beaches are inclusive too.”

Taking Back the Waves is a truly inspirational insight into how creating an inclusive coastal environment can be life-affirming for people with disability.

Premiering on International Day of People with Disability (Monday 3 December), the film was officially launched at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach by the NSW Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams. The film has spent the last 12 months touring the national and international film festival circuit, including official selection at Cannes Entr’2 Marches, the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, Nevada Dam Film Festival and the Gympie Heart of Gold Film Festival.

“I’m proud the NSW Government funded the inspiring film Taking Back the Waves, which demonstrates the importance of ensuring our coastline is inclusive for everyone to enjoy,” said Minister Williams.

“People with disability are part of our community and they deserve to enjoy the same experiences as everyone in our community, including visiting the beach. The NSW Government is working hard to break down barriers for people with disability and ensure everyone can enjoy living in NSW.”

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