The Other Superman pushes the limits

HE CAN leap tall buildings in a single bound but the Sydney Harbour Bridge is off limits for the wheelchair athlete and state government adviser Paul Nunnari.

The 39-year-old Paralympian, billed ''The Other Superman'', scaled a 20-metre ribbon suspended from the ceiling of the Sydney Opera House's southern foyer on Monday for the International Day of People with Disability.

Mr Nunnari, a wheelchair user since being hit by a car at the age of 11, took a few months to perfect the stunt, which confronts perceptions about disability.

''Sometimes people think the chair is a barrier but I just take the chair up with me,'' he said.

''It's really about adapting your abilities. No one really thinks about someone in a chair doing that and that's what I like about it. It challenges the misconceptions about disability.''

When not performing aerial acrobatics, Mr Nunnari is a mild-mannered public servant by day, working for the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet on a project that will improve accessibility to big events.

Indicating the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Mr Nunnari notes that the pedestrian walkway is not accessible for wheelchair users.

''It's just one example,'' he said. ''I work in town and I go for a push at lunch and I would love to be able to push over the bridge. That's just one example of a place you would think would be accessible and it just isn't.''

The state government moved closer to improving the lives of the 1.3 million people in NSW with a disability, launching the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan on Monday.

The NSW Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, said it was the first whole-of-government disability plan in the state. Every state government department will be required to shift the physical and attitudinal obstacles that affect people with disability. ''Social exclusion is not caused by a person's disability but by barriers created by society,'' Mr Constance said.

The plan's achievements will be reported publicly and influence future planning. Mr Constance described the plan as a building block of the $15 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The draft legislation of the scheme was introduced to federal Parliament last Thursday, with NSW trials to begin in the Hunter Valley next year.

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