Creating an inclusive outdoor sector for your organisation and business

Mr Mathew Townsend1
1Nature Freedom, Brisbane, Australia


Of the 4.4 million Australians living with a disability, 53.4% of this demographic are unemployed. While many people with disabilities wish to participate in the labour force, systemic barriers prevent their ability to work, participate and engage with industries. This includes the environmental and sustainability sector.
Creating inclusive and accessible workplaces is achievable for all organisations, businesses and groups. The impact of doing so can be profound at the personal, organisational and societal levels. It’s also good for business!
The presentation is delivered by Mathew Townsend, a young social impact entrepreneur living with disabilities. In 2017 Mathew started Nature Freedom, a not-for-profit social enterprise providing employment and participation opportunities for young people with disabilities within the natural environment sector.
With a Master of Environmental Management and a passion for the environment, Nature Freedom was motivated by Mathew’s experiences of navigating barriers that excluded him from working and being involved in environmental outdoor sector.
Speaking from first-hand experience, Mathew explores the benefits that inclusive and accessible workplaces can bring. The presentation details how you can embed accessible and inclusive practices within your organization – using language, communication and social models.
These learnings have broad application for an organisation’s positioning, both in relation to internal and external stakeholders.

Mathew Townsend is a founder of Nature Freedom, a not-for-profit enterprise providing young people with disability with access to the natural environment. He is an adventurer, a public speaker on the subject of inclusive and accessible cities and sustainable development, and a voice for people with disability. In 2018 he was the winner of Healthy Land & Water’s Volunteer of the Year Award, and a finalist in the Queensland Outdoor Awards 2018 and 7NEWS Young Achievers Queensland Awards 2019. He has a Master of Environmental Management from the University of Queensland. Mathew regularly consults to government, environmental and private sector organisations leading workshops on social inclusion and physical accessibility.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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