Greater inclusion for people with disability at Melbourne’s Moomba Festival is on the cards thanks to a partnership between the City of Melbourne and a Committee for Melbourne initiative, titled ‘Everyone’s Moomba’.

The group will work with City of Melbourne to look for opportunities to enhance the Moomba experience for people with a disability and their families; exploring the event’s existing facilities, services and experience offerings for those with accessibility requirements. 

Community consultation will be vital in determining what opportunities there are to improve the Moomba experience for this sector of the community, estimated to make up 20% of the Australian population. The team will have an ‘Everyone’s Moomba’ marquee set up during the four-day Moomba Festival taking place from 8-11 March to allow for community feedback, in the hopes that these insights can be used for planning future events.

In 2019, two athletes with disability will be incorporated into the Moomba Masters Water Sports program that sees world class athletes from 19 countries compete over the Moomba Long Weekend. These champion water ski athletes Jason Sleep and Sam Bell will feature in a series of exhibition events throughout the Moomba Master’s program, promoting accessible water sports to the community.

Jason Sleep is a professional athlete with a fearless approach to his professional and private life.   In 2000 he was involved in a life altering quad-bike accident which left him a paraplegic and double amputee but despite this setback, he was determined to return to the sport that he loved. 

With resilience and guts he returned to the water in 2004 and was professionally competing in Disabled Water Ski by 2006.  Since then, he has won 10 National Slalom titles and broken a ton of Australian slalom and trick records; also winning 2 slalom world championships and   trick world championship.  He has represented Australia for 12 years; and was proud to Captain the team which is currently #1 in the world. Jason was World Champion in the MP2 Slalom event at the World Championships in Townsville, 2007 and Bronze Medallist in Slalom at the 2015 World Championships in the USA. He won gold in both slalom trick at the 2017 World Championships held in Australia and most recently set a new world record in trick and was announced the 2018 International Waterski and Wakeboard Champion of the year.

Jason trains hard to be top of his game, with 5 days a week devoted to training at the Bridgewater Water Ski Club, one of the oldest water ski Clubs in Australia.  He is often joined on the Loddon River by his wife Sam and 2 daughters Tynesha and Chantelle. He’s currently training for the Australian Disabled Water-ski team that will compete to retain the world titles in Norway in July this year.  

Jason is committed to developing new talent in the sport of Disabled Water Ski and spends a lot of his time training new skiers from around Australia.  
Jason will perform a water ski exhibition as part of the Moomba Masters water ski program in 2019 and hopes to have the opportunity to compete in the Moomba Masters in 2020 too. 

For more information on this initiative and to show your support, please contact Laura Kerr Melvin at Committee for Melbourne - lmelvin@melbourne.org.au