Service NSW has become the latest to add a Quiet Hour for the benefit of those with sensory disabilities like Autism.
Since ‘Quiet Hours’ began with the major supermarkets over 5 years ago they have increased in both prevalence and popularity. Service NSW consulted with businesses like Coles, Kmart and Woolworths with stores which have already implemented successful Quiet Hour programs, in their development of the program in collaboration with disability advocates.
More than 110 Service NSW Service Centres will implement the quiet hours. For a set time each week, participating Service Centres will turn down lighting where possible, music, and ticket announcements. Staff also encourage customers to put their mobile phones on silent mode and minimise conversations with other customers during that time.
Minister for Disability Inclusion, Kate Washington said quiet hours are a simple thing they can do to improve inclusion.
“Quiet Hour is a simple service we can offer to help everyone feel welcome when they need to interact with the government. This can be useful for people who find light and sound overwhelming.”
“The feedback from the first Service Centres to offer a Quiet Hour was overwhelmingly positive so it’s wonderful to see the idea being adopted by almost every centre across the State.”
Each Service Centre has worked with local community groups to build awareness of Quiet Hour and help shape the program. Service NSW surveyed Service Centres which have already been participating in Quiet Hour and found nearly 97 per cent of people felt the service was successful at their centre.
About 60 per cent of transactions completed by people specifically attending Quiet Hour were for driver knowledge tests or other computer-based examinations.
Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Jihad Dib said everyone is welcome in a NSW Service Centre.
“Quiet Hour will provide a more calming and supportive environment for those who have low-sensory needs.”
“For people who require limited distractions, such as Autistic people, Quiet Hour will allow them to complete their driver’s knowledge test and access other services in a quieter, calmer environment.”
“A Service Centre should be available to everyone who needs it, and Quiet Hour is one of many programs Service NSW has rolled out in recent times to improve the overall accessibility of government services.”
Service NSW has provided disability awareness training for staff to assist customers living with disabilities and their carers.
People are encouraged to visit the Service NSW website for a full timetable of when their nearest Service Centre is offering the service as well as other accessibility facilities available at their local centre including mobility parking and public transport access.
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