Maldon is an inclusive town

Next time you’re in Maldon keep an eye out for a sandy-coloured sticker in the window of businesses who have signed up to the Inclusive Towns project.
Inclusive Towns is a collaborative project that Mount Alexander Shire Council is undertaking alongside the City of Greater Bendigo and Loddon Shire Council. It is funded through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building National Readiness Grants program.
The program aims to improve inclusion in rural communities and is raising awareness of the purchasing power that people with disabilities have within the community.
Inclusive Towns project officer Alison Jones said inclusive businesses are smart businesses, and are businesses that make more money.
“We are working with accommodation providers, retailers, tourist destinations and cafés to improve accessibility of businesses and promote inclusion, so that people with a disability feel welcomed and valued within their community,” Ms Jones said.
The project employs six support officers – local people with a disability – who visit each business and develop an action plan of simple and inexpensive changes the business can make to be more inclusive.
So far 19 Maldon businesses have signed up to the project.
“We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from local businesses and it’s great to see the community embracing the project, recognising the support officers out on the street and making these simple changes,” Ms Jones said.
Support Officer Peter West said that as a local resident he has been frustrated at the lack of access to some shops. However, he has been delighted with the response to the project.
“I have been really impressed with how many businesses want to work with us to improve access for the whole community.”
Maldon Getaways was the first business to sign up and business owner Jamie Heffernan said it was a really simple process.
“It was great to get the perspective of the team, who have a lot of knowledge to share.
“They gave me some ideas around making our accommodation options more accessible, with links and suppliers for inclusive supports we could purchase that could be used in several of our holiday homes,” Mr Heffernan said.
“Everyone should be able to have a holiday in Maldon, it’s a great town! As accessible accommodation in town is very limited, it makes good business sense for Maldon Getaways to have lots of options, and to provide a range of inclusive supports that can meet a wide variety of needs,” he said.
For more information on the project, or to find out how you can get involved, contact Alison Jones on 5434 6000 or email

Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.