A State of Disaster in Victoria has been declared to manage the serious risk to public health posed by coronavirus (COVID-19). For the latest information visit the DHHS Coronavirus webpage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted some VHHSBA projects. Refer to individual project pages for the latest updates.

Page URL

New designs and features for Changing Places

Changing Places enable people with high support needs to enjoy day-to-day lives many of us take for granted. The new Changing Place Design Specifications 2020 include updated designs, new features and a fourth design option.

Thirteen-year-old Sarah has an extremely rare genetic condition called Pallister-Killian syndrome and, like the 326,400 Victorians with high support needs, she requires support with aspects of her personal care. When Sarah and her family are away from home, they must sometimes cut their outing short and go home so that they can and attend to her toileting needs. This can feel isolating and affects their quality of life. Her mother Rebecca asks, ‘Where do you change a nappy for someone in their teens?’  

The answer is, a Changing Place. Changing Places are larger than standard accessible public toilets with full sized change tables and hoists designed to support the needs of people with severe and profound disabilities. They are located at major public places – like universities, shopping malls, sporting stadiums and significant arts and culture locations. They allow people with high support needs to work, study and attend social, sporting and cultural events – things many of us take for granted.

The first Changing Place was built in Ringwood, Victoria in 2014 and today there are more than 130 Changing Places in major public places across Australia. But, they’ve come a long way since 2014.

In 2019, Australia became the first country in the world to regulate for public toilets based on the Changing Places design. As of 1 May 2019,The National Construction Code 2019 released by the Australian Building Code Board requires a new class of toilet called Accessible Adult Change Facilities to be included in certain classes of public buildings, including some shopping centres, sports and entertainment venues and airports.

Now, another step forward. In April, the Changing Places design specifications 2020 was released. It includes updated designs and new features – each based on feedback from users of the facilities currently in operation. There are now four, not three, design options. The new specifications also provide the technical design specifications and updated costings to build a Changing Places facility to one of the four design options. They provide information about the relationship between Changing Places and the National Construction Code.

They are also designed as an education and advocacy tool for organisations and individuals wanting to learn about Changing Places – and for those seeking to campaign for more facilities in their communities. Social worker and disability rights advocate, Liz, welcomes more facilities. She said, ‘More Changing Places means widening the boundaries experienced by people with severe physical disabilities and giving them a greater choice of places to go.’

It is a basic human right to be able to access a clean, safe and private place to take care of our personal care. The Changing Places Design Specifications 2020 aim to ensure that Changing Places continue to evolve and to play a vital role in enabling more people to participate in social, recreational and economic activities. People like thirteen year-old Sarah and her family.

When a public space has a Changing Place, Rebecca can change Sarah without hurting her back – or returning home. Rebecca said, ‘Changing Places provide the security of knowing we can access a place, where we can take care of her physical and sanitary needs, with privacy and dignity.’

The new design specifications can be downloaded from this page.

Locations of all currently open facilities in Australia, building specifications and guidelines can be found on the national Changing Places website.

Download

Share this

Changing Places comes to Werribee Zoo

People of all abilities can meet their favourite animals and fully participate in all Werribee Zoo has to offer with the opening of a new Changing Places facility.

Changing Places are larger than standard accessible toilets with an adult-sized change table, peninsula toilet and tracking hoist. Located within major public spaces, these facilities are designed to make attractions more accessible and inclusive for people with high support needs.

For parents like Emily Kiefel, the facility can make all the difference.

"There's no dignity in lying your child down on a public toilet floor to change them, so this is life changing."

Emily Kiefel, parent

The new facility is a welcome addition to the Zoo’s existing accessible features, including accessible parking, accessible toilets and an easy-to-follow pathway system for people using wheelchairs and strollers.

Located adjacent to the Visitor Information Centre before the Zoo entrance, this facility is designed for anyone who needs a Changing Places facility and is visiting the Werribee area.

Towards inclusive communities

The Victorian Government has committed $2.6 million to provide a network of 26 Changing Places facilities across the state so that people with high support needs can access recreational and tourist attractions, parks, community spaces, entertainment and sporting venues.

A further four Changing Places were opened in July at Bicentennial Park, Portland Foreshore, Preston Central and Healesville Sanctuary, bringing the total number of facilities available in Victoria to 49. With the opening of the facility at Healesville Sanctuary, all three of Victoria’s zoos now have Changing Places facilities.

You can learn more about the rollout of the Changing Places initiative via our dedicated project page.

Find locations of all currently open facilities and building specifications and guidelines on the national Changing Places website.

Share this

Healesville Sanctuary opens new Changing Places facility

A Changing Places facility has opened at Healesville Sanctuary, ensuring people with complex disabilities can enjoy their visit to the popular wildlife sanctuary and Yarra Valley region knowing their needs will be met.

Changing Places are larger than standard accessible toilets with adult-sized change tables and tracking hoists. They’re designed to meet the needs of people who may require a carer to assist them to use the bathroom when attending public spaces and attractions.

For animal enthusiasts like Brendan and Jack, the facility can make all the difference.

"Changing Places makes it so you can go out for the whole day," said Jack.

"It is a wonderful experience at Healesville," added Brendan.

"Changing Places makes such a difference to families. You shouldn’t have to campaign for toilets. It’s a human right."

Di, Brendan's mum

The new facility complements Healesville Sanctuary’s existing accessible parking, accessible toilets and easy-to-follow pathway system for people using wheelchairs and strollers.

Located immediately inside the front entrance of Healesville Sanctuary but before the ticketing area, this facility is designed for anyone who needs a Changing Place and is visiting the Yarra Valley.

Building inclusive communities across Victoria

The Victorian Government has committed $2.6m to provide a network of 26 Changing Places facilities across the state so that people with high support needs can access recreational and tourist attractions, parks, community spaces, entertainment and sporting venues.

In May this year the National Construction Code was updated to include a new class of toilet, known as Accessible Adult Change Facilities, based on the Changing Places design.

The National Construction Code outlines the minimum standards for safety, health and accessibility in the construction of new buildings or new building work throughout Australia.

From 1 May 2019, major shopping centres, sports venues, pools, museums, theatres, art galleries and airport terminals will need to include Changing Places toilets within their venues.

The 100th Changing Places facility in Australia opened in Bicentennial Park this month, marking an important milestone for the program and the Victorian Government’s commitment to build inclusive communities.

You can learn more about the rollout of the Changing Places initiative via our dedicated project page.

Find locations of all currently open facilities and building specifications and guidelines on the national Changing Places website.

Share this

Changing Places

Submitted by admin on Thu, 07/25/2019 - 05:20

The built environment should be accessible to all Victorians. That’s why the Victorian Government has funded the construction of 26 Changing Places toilets in major public spaces across Victoria.

The Changing Places program enables people with a disability and high support needs to participate in social, sporting and cultural activities.

Changing Places facilities are larger than standard accessible toilets with a height adjustable adult-sized change table, a tracking hoist and space for two people either side of a peninsula toilet.

Changing Places, changing lives - Celebrating Changing Places Awareness Day on July 19

Can a toilet and changing facility change lives? If the testimonials of many people with disabilities, their families and carers are any guide, the answer is a resounding 'yes'.

The positive impact of fully accessible toilets and change facilities on the lives of people with disabilities will be celebrated during Changing Places Awareness Day on July 19.

"I’m thrilled. I never really thought I would get emotional about a toilet, but it’s just a huge game changer for us. We’ve recently moved from the UK back to Australia for Amos’ needs and we’re just so thankful that there are people thinking of us."

Rebecca, mum

Changing Places are larger than standard accessible toilets with adult-sized change tables and tracking hoists designed to cater for people with high support needs.

Unless it directly affects ourselves or our families, we probably don’t realise that access to a useable changing facility is not only a human right, but also a fundamental way of building a more inclusive community for people with disabilities.

People with disabilities and their families often suffer social isolation and a sense of being ‘locked out’ of public venues due to a lack of adequate toilet facilities that meet their needs. Some families, desperate to live a life outside of their four walls, have no choice but to change their child on the cold floor of a public toilet.

Amos’ mother Rebecca says “We’re just at a point where he’s too tall for the baby change tables. I’ve had to change him on the floor in bathrooms and it’s unsanitary, I don’t want to do that. Usually the option is to change him in the car, but it’s really uncomfortable for him.”

Since 2014, Changing Places have been installed in major public spaces across Australia, the bulk of which are within Victoria.

Recently the 100th Changing Places facility was opened at Bicentennial Park in Chelsea, in Melbourne’s south-east.

Leading the way

Inspired by the UK initiative, the first Australian Changing Places toilet was launched in Victoria by Maroondah City Council in 2014.

Victoria has been a leader in promoting Changing Places and was the first state to directly fund the construction of Changing Places in 2015. Since then, the State Government has funded 32 Changing Places and incorporated the facility into new infrastructure including hospitals, sports stadiums and train stations.

Western Australia and other states soon followed Victoria’s lead by promoting and funding Changing Places within their own public facilities. The private sector were also early adopters with nearly every major shopping centre company in Australia committing to build Changing Places.

Changing places means we can all go places

The new Changing Places facility at Wallan’s popular Hadfield Park Adventure Playground has been a big win for 10-year old Ally Hopper and her family. The Hoppers have long enjoyed the all-abilities adventure playground, and had advocated for a Changing Places facility to be built there.

Ally’s Mum Phyllis says "It’s a great new asset to the park. Now I can change my daughter in privacy and dignity, with plenty of space and on a comfortable change table, rather than having to head home or change Ally in the boot of my car. I also love that I can now take my time and not feel that I have to ‘hurry up’, which will make it a more pleasant experience for both Ally and myself."

Hamer Hall’s Changing Places facility means people of all ages and abilities can relax and enjoy their visit to the arts precinct and Melbourne's CBD. One of the latest Changing Places in Melbourne, its opening gives advocates like Brendan and Michael, along with their families, a new sense of independence.

Brendan’s mother Di commented "It means coming to this precinct as a family is more doable than it's ever been, and we won't be separated by invisible barriers. In fact, Brendan will be able to access his own entertainment without us being present."

You can learn more about the rollout of the Changing Places initiative in Victoria via our dedicated project page.

Locations of all currently open facilities in Australia and building specifications and guidelines can be found on the national Changing Places website.

Share this

100th Australian Changing Places facility now open at Bicentennial Park

The 100th Changing Places facility in Australia has officially been opened at the popular Bicentennial Park in Chelsea, marking a milestone for the program and the Victorian Government's commitment to build inclusive communities.

As a hub of activity for the community, this facility ensures the park caters for all ages and abilities, further complementing the existing accessible parking, playground, trails and sporting facilities.

For families like Rebecca, Amos, Noah and Joseph this facility is life changing.

"I’m thrilled. I never really thought I would get emotional about a toilet, but it’s just a huge game changer for us. We’ve recently moved from the UK back to Australia for Amos’ needs and we’re just so thankful that there are people thinking of us."

In the past, Rebecca has used baby change tables, but now as Amos is growing older she’s had to take yoga mats into bathrooms to change him on the floor.

"We’re just at a point where he’s too tall for the baby change tables. I’ve had to change him on the floor in bathrooms and it’s unsanitary, I don’t want to do that. Usually the option is to change him in the car, but it’s uncomfortable for him, so this really means a lot for us."
Rebecca, Changing Places user

Share this

Changing Places user and venue owner surveys – tell us what you think!

Please note: The surveys referenced in this article have now closed.

 

Have you or someone you care for used a Changing Places toilet or Marveloo in Australia?

Then we want to hear from you via our 10 minute online user survey!

Your feedback will help us to improve facilities and decide the best locations for future builds, so that our public spaces are more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities, their families and carers.

TAKE USER SURVEY

 

Do you own or operate a venue with a Changing Places facility within Australia?

We’d also like to hear your feedback to help us to improve both the amenity and experience for people using these facilities.

TAKE VENUE OWNER SURVEY
 

Have a question about the surveys?

The surveys close on Friday 31 May 2019 at 11.59pm.

These surveys are being conducted by the Centre for Evaluation and Research at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. If you have any concerns or questions about the survey, please feel free contact us at cer@dhhs.vic.gov.au

About Changing Places

Changing Places are larger than standard accessible toilets. They have a height adjustable adult change table, a tracking hoist system, and room for two people either side of a peninsula toilet. Marveloos are portable Changing Places and are available for hire at events and festivals.

Supporting the 326,400 Victorians with high support and complex needs, the initiative forms part of the Victorian Government’s 'Absolutely everyone: State disability plan 2017-20' which seeks to create more inclusive communities.

Victoria is a leader in building Changing Places, becoming the first state to directly fund the construction of Changing Places in 2015. Since then the Victorian Government has funded 32 Changing Places and incorporated Changing Places into new infrastructure builds including hospitals, sports stadiums and train stations.

You can learn more about the rollout of the Changing Places initiative in Victoria via our dedicated project page.

Locations of all currently open facilities, as well as Changing Places building specifications and guidelines can be found on the Changing Places website.

Share this

Changing Places inspires a welcome change to the National Construction Code

In welcome news for people with a disability, their carers and families, a new class of toilet - accessible adult change facility (AACF) - is now mandated within the 2019 National Construction Code.

Based on the Changing Places design, these dedicated toilets provide a tracking hoist, adult sized change table, peninsula toilet and extra space for people with complex disabilities – removing a major obstacle to their participation and inclusion within the community.

A hidden barrier

The lack of ‘fit for purpose’ toilet facilities is a huge barrier to participation and enjoyment of sporting, cultural and community events. Stories of having to change children on a dirty toilet floor, or needing to leave a football game at half-time because of inadequate facilities were confronting reminders of the disadvantage this caused.

A new national mandate

The National Construction Code (NCC) outlines the minimum standards for safety, health and accessibility in the construction of new buildings or new building work throughout Australia.

From 1 May 2019, certain classes of public building including major shopping centres, sports venues, pools, museums, theatres, art galleries and airport terminals will need to include the new accessible toilets within their venues.

The good news for venue owners is that toilets built to the Changing Places design will meet the requirements of the new NCC.

Rina Sherry, the Community Building Manager for the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority says “Australia is the first country in the world to regulate for truly accessible public toilets based on the Changing Places design. This is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the many Changing Places supporters across the country.”

One change, many benefits

The benefits are many, including increased participation across a wide range of cultural and community events, and greater opportunities to engage with the workforce.

Most importantly, the provision of this new class of public toilet will enhance a sense of greater personal freedom and empowerment while reducing stress for those caring for people with disability.

“The simple right to access functional toilets and change facilities itself opens up a wide range of experiences and opportunities too long denied people with disabilities.”

Dr. George Taleporos, advocate, Changing Places

 

The Changing Places program

Inspired by the UK initiative, the first Australian Changing Places toilet was launched in Victoria at Maroondah City Council in 2014.

Victoria has been a leader in promoting Changing Places and was the first state to directly fund the construction of Changing Places in 2015. Since then it has funded 32 Changing Places and incorporated Changing Places into new infrastructure builds including hospitals, sports stadiums and train stations.

Western Australia and other states soon followed by promoting and funding more Changing Places. The private sector were also early adopters with nearly every major shopping centre company in Australia committing to build Changing Places. There are now 85 Changing Places toilets across Australia, 36 of which are in Victoria.

Changing Places is a key component of Victoria’s universal design approach. You can learn more about the rollout of the Changing Places initiative in Victoria via our dedicated project page.

Locations of all currently open facilities and building specifications and guidelines can be found on the national Changing Places website.

Share this

Hamer Hall unveils new Changing Places facility

Melbourne's newest Changing Places facility has been officially opened at Hamer Hall. Now people of all ages and abilities can relax and enjoy their visit to the arts precinct and Melbourne's CBD knowing their needs will be met.

This opening gives advocates like Brendan and Michael, along with their families, a new sense of independence.

"It means coming to this precinct as a family is more doable than it's ever been, and we won't be separated by invisible barriers. Brendan will be able to access his own entertainment without us being present”
Di McCarthy, mother to Brendan

Continuing to lead the way both nationally and internationally, Victoria is taking big steps to make public places more accessible and inclusive using universal design principles.

Located on level 3 of Hamer Hall near the south lift, this Changing Places facility features a height adjustable adult change table, a ceiling hoist and a peninsula toilet with enough space for two people on either side. The facility will be available during the Art Centre's extensive opening hours.

Supporting the 326,400 Victorians with high support and complex needs, the Changing Places program forms part of the Victorian Government’s ‘Absolutely everyone: State disability plan 2017-20 which looks to create more inclusive communities.

The Victorian Government has provided $2.6 million to fund a network of 26 Changing Places facilities, including this one, to enable people with a disability to access recreational and tourist attractions, parks, community spaces, entertainment and sporting venues.

You can learn more about the rollout of the Changing Places initiative via our dedicated project page.

Locations of all currently open facilities, building specifications and guidelines can be found on the national Changing Places website.

Share this

Last updated: 03 August 2020