Optus opens access for all abilities

Optus Stadium will become the first major sporting venue in Australia to offer rooftop experiences catering to people of all abilities. 

New safety equipment and harnesses have been installed which enable wheelchair users to access the venue’s VERTIGO rooftop experience, which originally opened to the public in March.

This development will allow wheelchair users to access the unique opportunity of being suspended over the edge of the stadium’s roof at a height of 42m. 

Optus Stadium's rooftop experience will become an adventure accessible for all abilities.
Paralympian Amber Merritt and Disability Services Minister Don Punch try the new VERTIGO experience. Photo: Supplied.

The disability sector welcomes the news, having historically struggled to find accessible events and experiences for their community.

Access Foundation Specialist support coordinator Marie Willar says opportunities for the disability sector are few and far in between. 

“There seems to be a lack of activities for them in the community. You’re always having to source something new,” Ms Willar says.

“They have the right as much as everybody else to go wherever they like.

“There needs to be acceptance by the broader community that these people with disabilities can do these things. They should be there and they should be given the opportunity to do things and try it.”

Optus Stadium makes inclusion a priority with its new rooftop experiences for people of all abilities. Photo: Angela Ho.

Adventure Out is an outdoor adventure company with experience in running abseiling and zip-line activities through their annual charity fundraiser the Urban Descent, including for people who require wheelchair access.

Adventure Out general manager Andrew McLaren says these services are made possible by the company’s own custom-made harness technologies. 

“There’s a lot of fear around coming up with new things that could potentially cause harm. Making sure they’re right, that they’re comfortable for the user so they don’t experience any circulation loss to the limbs is important,” he says.

He says normalising these opportunities will depend on how frequently similar events can be run but has been complicated over the past two years with COVID disruptions. 

“Inclusion is very important. It’s definitely a priority,” Mr McLaren says. 

“We make sure to create an adaptive method to get everyone involved in some way, and to ensure students are able to have an experience with us, just like everyone else.”

Disability Services Minister Don Punch says making the rooftop experience as accessible to as many people as possible was always a key priority for the State Government.

“Thousands of Western Australians with disability or mobility issues require wheelchair accessible options, and it is great to see Perth’s iconic Optus Stadium building inclusivity with new accessible experiences.”

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