Friday July 29 was a workday unlike any other for Sunshine Coast Council CEO Emma Thomas.
Ms Thomas joined other business leaders across Queensland in the CEO Wheelie Challenge. The inaugural event, hosted by Queensland not-for-profit organisation Sporting Wheelies, challenged CEOs throughout the state to experience a workday in a wheelchair.
While the challenge certainly lived up to its name, Ms Thomas said she was thrilled to take part and help raise funds for Queenslanders living with disabilities.
“I signed up for the CEO Wheelie Challenge to experience life in a wheelchair for a day because I want to better understand the things so many of us take for granted,” Ms Thomas said.
“Travelling by car, using ramps rather than steps and navigating doorways were among the many challenges this day presented and it certainly gave me a new perspective on the challenges people in wheelchairs face every day.
“I’m a very strong advocate for inclusion and diversity and I want Sunshine Coast Council to continue to have an inclusive working environment where all team members feel safe, valued and respected.
“I’m extremely excited to have helped raise important funds for the Sporting Wheelies & Disabled Association, which is a leading provider of inclusive sports, recreation and rehabilitation therapy for Queenslanders living with a disability.
“They are a peak body for Paralympic sports, with a vision to have as many para-athletes as possible at the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games – which I’m very excited about, particularly considering our Sunshine Coast Council is a delivery partner in the Brisbane 2032 Games.”
Ms Thomas’ workday agenda included a visit to Nambour Customer Service Centre and Nambour Library before heading to Cotton Tree to meet with members of the mobility mapping pilot project.
This project used modern mapping technology to improve accessibility and make life easier for people using wheelchairs and mobility aids across the region.
“I want to help people with a disability to participate equitably in community life and be able to experience the liveability and natural environment of our Sunshine Coast,” Ms Thomas said.
“Our community is much stronger when there is equitable access and council certainly has an important part in this.”
Sunshine Coast Council maintains a strong commitment to access, inclusion and improving the lives of people with disabilities in our region through Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041.