Universal design is a design philosophy that ensures that products, buildings, environments, programs, services and experiences are innately accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of their age, level of ability, cultural background or any other differentiating factors. Universal design distinguishes itself from accessible design by focusing on user-centred design from the earliest stages of a project.
Universal design and the State Disability Plan Inclusive Victoria 2022-2026
Accessible communications and universal design is one of the six systemic reforms outlined in The State Disability Plan, Inclusive Victoria 2022-2026.
Across the Victorian Government, all departments have agreed that over the next four years they will embed the six systemic reforms in their policies, programs and services
This includes a commitment to work across government to embed universal design principles in all elements of the design and delivery of infrastructure
- adopting universal design principles in the first two years of the plan in parks, sport and recreation, and health infrastructure
- continuing to build a network of fully accessible public toilets across Victoria to support people with disability to take part in their local community and access recreational venues, as well as embedding their construction in major infrastructure and transport projects. This includes funding local government and not-for-profit agencies to build 18 more Changing Places facilities across Victoria.
- publicly releasing the whole-of-government Universal design policy and sharing examples of good practice with community, industry and local government.
Whole of Victorian Government Universal Design policy
The purpose of Victoria’s universal design policy is to support Victorian Government departments, agencies and delivery partners to incorporate universal design principles consistently across infrastructure projects. This policy provides guidance on how Victorian Government funded infrastructure can be designed and delivered to advance universal design principles and goals. This includes small to medium sized infrastructure projects that are funded through grants programs or any other funding mechanism.
Co-design and meaningful user engagement are some of the most important aspects to getting universal design right in practice. Elevating the voice of people with disability throughout the project lifecycle leads to shared decision making which translates to more effective services and better outcomes for people.
All new Victorian Government infrastructure projects should demonstrate how their design and construction will align with the seven universal design principles.
The Seven Universal Design Principles
Universal Design Principle
1. Equitable use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
2. Flexibility in use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
3. Simple and intuitive use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the person's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
4. Perceptible information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the person, regardless of ambient conditions or the person’s sensory abilities
5. Tolerance for error
The design minimises hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
6. Low physical effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
7. Size and space for approach and use:
Appropriate size and space are provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the person’s body size, posture, or mobility.
2022 Universal Design Grants Funding Round outcome The 2022 Universal Design Grants Funding Round closed on 2 September 2022.
Twenty seven organisations will receive universal design grants to help ensure programs and services are accessible to as many people as possible inclusive of age, disability, gender identity, culture and language.
The grants, totalling $2.4 million, will support both small and large-scale improvement to facilities.
The grants were allocated in two grant streams (small and large).
There are six organisations receiving large grants of $100,001 to $500,000 for major upgrades and 21 organisations receiving smaller grants of $10,000 to $100,000 for minor fit outs or upgrades.
|Grant organisation||Project name||Proposed location|
|Yarra City Council||CSCC Southern Entry Upgrade||Eddy Ct Abbotsford VIC 3067|
|Ballarat Group Training||Barkly Square Accessibility Plan||25 Barkly St Ballarat East VIC 3350|
|Chiltern Neighbourhood House||Chiltern Neighbourhood House Dementia-friendly and Sensory Garden||11 Main St Chiltern VIC 3683|
|Camperdown Pastoral and Agricultural Society||ACCESS a LOO||1 Errey St, Camperdown VIC 3260|
|ACMI||ACMI’s Universal Design Upgrades||Federation Square, Flinders Street Melbourne Victoria 3000|
|Remembrance Parks Central Victoria||An Accessible Memorial Centre||5 Victoria St Eaglehawk VIC 3556|
|Alpine Shire Council||Myrtleford Memorial Hall Revival - Universal Design||154-156 Myrtle St Myrtleford VIC 3737|
|City of Port Phillip||Powered wheelchair storage facility||Jacka Blvd St Kilda VIC 3182|
|Indigo Shire Council||Rutherglen Maternal and Child Health Centre and Youth Centre Universal Access Project||150 High St Rutherglen VIC 3685|
|Apollo Bay & District Historical Society Incorporated||New covered entrance ramp and disabled access||6250 Great Ocean Rd Apollo Bay VIC 3233|
|Avenel Jubilee Park Committee of Management||Avenel Community Hub all abilities project||23 Queen St Avenel VIC 3664|
|Waranga Boat Club Inc||Waranga Boat Club Clubhouse Access Improvement||1080 Rushworth-Tatura Rd Waranga Shores VIC 3612|
|Indigo Shire Council||Chiltern Senior Citizens Clubrooms Universal Access Improvements||84 Conness St Chiltern VIC 3683|
|Orwil Street Community House||Acoustic panels for Orwil Street||16 Orwil St Frankston VIC 3199|
|Bass Coast Shire Council||Rhyll Mechanics Hall Improvement Project||41-53 Reid St Rhyll VIC 3923|
|Warracknabeal Band and Scout Hall Committee||Warracknabeal band and Scout Hall Amenities Upgrade Project||45 Devereux St Warracknabeal VIC 3393|
|Indigo Shire Council||Rutherglen Senior Citizens Clubrooms Universal Access Project||12 Douglas St Rutherglen VIC 3685|
|Beaconsfield Officer Scouts Group||Supporting ASD youth with sensory issues||20 Starling Rd Officer VIC 3809|
|Cardinia Shire Council||Access Upgrade Program: Beaconsfield Officer Scouts||20 Starling Rd Officer VIC 3809|
|Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority||Anglesea Accessible Beaches Upgrade||78 Great Ocean Rd Anglesea VIC 3230|
|Koorie Heritage Trust Inc||Koorie Heritage Trust First Nations signage upgrade||L3 Yarra Building, Federation Square Cnr Swanston and Flinders Streets Melbourne Vic 3000|
|Queenscliffe Maritime Museum Incorporated||Building an accessible ramp to experience museum exhibit Vessel Mavis III||2 Wharf St Queenscliff VIC 3225|
|Collingwood Yards||Universal design in public spaces at Collingwood Yards arts precinct||35 Johnston St Collingwood VIC 3066|
|Nillumbik Shire Council||Alistair Knox Park||829 Main Rd Eltham VIC 3095|
|Campaspe Shire Council||Victoria Park Boat Ramp Universal Access Project||Scenic Dr Echuca VIC 3564|
|Moonee Valley City Council||Incinerator Gallery Accessible Lift||180 Holmes Rd Aberfeldie VIC 3040|
|Phillip Island Nature Parks||Pyramid Rock Toilet Renewal||Pyramid Rock Rd Ventnor VIC 3922|
Key documents available for download
- Whole of Victorian Government Universal Design Policy (Word)
- Whole of Victorian Government Universal Design Policy Summary (Word)
- Universal Design Funding Round Guidelines
- Whole of Victorian Government Universal Design Policy - Easy Read (Word)
- Whole of Victorian Government Universal Design Policy - Easy Read (pdf)
- Whole Of Victorian Government Universal Design Policy - Summary (Audio)