Welcome to Blind Citizens Australia

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) is the united voice of Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

Our mission is to achieve equity and equality by our empowerment, by promoting positive community attitudes, and by striving for high quality and accessible services which meet our needs.

Whether you are blind, have a vision impairment , a family member or friend of a person who is blind or vision impaired, BCA is here to assist you.

We provide information, peer support, individual and systemic advocacy, and consultancy services. Our Branches act as local lobby groups and provide opportunities for social interaction for members.

Explore our site. Learn about us. Listen to SoundAbout for profiles of people who are blind or vision impaired and those working with our community. If you are interested in audio-described TV, cinema and DVD content check out It’s Our Turn. Set your dial and tune in to our weekly radio program New Horizons. For the issues and policies that affect you, plus useful information and tips, turn to the pages of BC News or Parent News.

Welcome to BCA, the national organisation of people who are blind or vision impaired.

Contact BCA:

Toll Free:
1800 033 660

(03) 9654 1400

Email: Blind Citizens Australia

Donate to Blind Citizens Australia by using the PayPal button below


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Thursday, August 25, 2016

Orlando, Florida USA: The General Assembly of the World Blind Union (WBU), which meets every four years, has elected its new President, Dr. Fredric Schroeder from the National Federation of the Blind, USA (NFB).

Dr. Schroeder was elected during this quadrennium’s Assembly, which was from August 19th-24th in Orlando, Florida and he was unanimously elected by delegates from the 100 countries present at the Assembly. He will now serve as the lead representative of the blind and partially sighted from over 190 countries at the United Nations and other international multilateral organizations.

Dr. Schroeder brings with him years of national and international experience, including serving as the WBU First Vice President over the last four years, as well as serving several terms as First Vice President of the NFB.

Upon hearing confirmation of his election, Dr. Schroeder expressed his deepest thanks and gratitude to the WBU General Assembly. “I am honoured and humbled to have been selected by the global representatives of the world’s blind to lead the World Blind Union in the face of many global challenges,” remarked Dr. Schroeder, confirming that he will continue to focus on some of the biggest international issues that face the blind and partially sighted across the world, especially combatting societal stigma and low expectations that create barriers for blind people in many nations.

The hosts of the WBU General Assembly, the NFB rejoiced when their peer and friend was elected. “My friend, colleague, and mentor Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder has been an outstanding leader of the National Federation of the Blind for decades and has effectively advocated for and implemented innovative education and rehabilitation programs and policies in many capacities, including as Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Schroeder has also shown leadership on the global stage on advocating for the Marrakesh Treaty as well as addressing issues such as the danger of silent hybrid and electric vehicles. I look forward to continued collaboration with him as he leads the world’s blind into a future where all of us, in whatever nation, can live the lives we want,” said Mr. Mark A. Riccobono, President of NFB.

The current President of the World Blind Union, Arnt Holte from the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP) commended the results of the Presidential election. “The newly elected President, Dr. Fredric Schroeder from the National Federation of the Blind, USA, is an excellent choice and the right choice for the most important position in our Union, and I am sure that Fredric will take WBU forward and further develop our organization.”

Mr. Holte also expressed gratitude to the members of the WBU for allowing him to serve as their President for the last four years. “I am privileged to have had the honour of being the President of the World Blind Union. It has been an amazing pleasure to represent the WBU all over the world, and I look forward to still being a Board Member as the Immediate Past President for the next four years. I also look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Schroeder as well as all of the new Officers on the WBU Board, and I wish them good luck and great success during their terms.”

Mr. Holte’s tenure as President ended at the official close of the WBU General Assembly on Wednesday, August 24th at 3:30 pm. After the closing of the Assembly, the new Executive of the WBU had its first Executive Committee meeting.

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization representing the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations run by blind people advocating on their own behalf and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment.

Visit our website at www.wbu.ngo

For further information, please contact:
Caitlin Reid
Communications Officer, World Blind Union

Message from the BCA President – Emma Bennison

Dear Members

The World Blind Union (WBU) General Assembly adjourned today and has provided much food for thought.

It has been an honour and a privilege for Bill Jolley and I to represent BCA and we will provide a full report once we return to Australia.

For now though, there are two important items I wanted to update you on:

Firstly, Maryanne Diamond who was WBU president during 2008 to 2012 and former Executive Officer of our organisation, has been awarded the Louis Braille medal in recognition of her outstanding contribution to improving the quality of life of blind and vision-impaired people throughout the world. This is the highest honour bestowed by the WBU. Our congratulations and gratitude to Maryanne for her tireless dedication to this work.

Secondly, Bill Jolley has been elected to the Board of the WBU Asia Pacific. We are delighted that Bill has taken on this important role and congratulate him on his election.

Best wishes.
Emma Bennison

New Horizons Program 465

This week on program 465 of New Horizons, we commence a two part series featuring Bruce Maguire, on the development of touch screens. In particular, the difficulties many blind and vision impaired people are experiencing with the new craze meeting the retail industry – Albert.

You can use the embedded audio player above to listen or download the program.

New Horizons is available as a podcast! To manually subscribe, using your pod catcher of choice, place the following URL http://wordpress.bca.org.au/feed/ in the appropriate field to subscribe to the New Horizons program.

If you are a Vision Australia I-Access Library member, you can subscribe to New Horizons using the I-Access on line catalogue. Use the find facility within the on line catalogue with the search term “New Horizons” and you will be presented with current and past programs of New Horizons, from there you can subscribe to the podcast.

New Horizons is Blind Citizens Australia’s weekly radio program. It can be heard on RPH and community radio stations throughout Australia. Go here for Broadcast times and stations

Current and past Episodes of New Horizons can also be found on the Blind Citizens Australia audio page

And on the The Global Voice

Blind Citizens Australia 2016 State Conference Dates

Below you will find information on upcoming BCA state events.

Queensland Forum
Saturday 8 October
Vision Australia Cooparoo

NSW/ACT Convention
Saturday and Sunday 15 and 16 October
Pacific Bay Resort Coffs Harbour

South Australian Forum
Saturday 29 October
RSB Knappman House Adelaide

Victorian Conference
Saturday 12 November
Bayview on the Park Hotel Melbourne

We are also planning to hold a members’ forum in Hobart on Saturday 5 November; venue to be decided.

This year’s BCA Annual General Meeting will be held in association with a BCA face to face Board meeting in Sydney on Saturday 26 November. More details will be available shortly.

The 2017 National Convention is to be held in Victoria; dates and location to be finalised.

Event details and registration arrangements for all 2016 events will be provided to all members shortly. In the meantime please direct any inquiries to the BCA office.

Audio Streaming – World Blind Union 2016 General Assembly

the following information has been passed on from the Australian Blindness Forum. The message below contains the link for audio streaming of the WBU General Assembly.

There is a 14 hour time difference between eastern Australia and Orlando Florida.

As some of you may know, the World Blind Union General Assembly commences later this week in Orlando, Florida. ABF is Australia’s representative to the World Blind Union and has sent 4 delegates to the General Assembly – Tony Starkey, Kevin Murfitt, Emma Bennison and Bill Jolley.

As they have done in the past, the American Council of the Blind will be audio streaming all of the plenary sessions of the WBU General Assembly. It will be streamed live on their website starting Friday, August 19th until the end of the General Assembly on August 24th. The link to the audio streaming is World Blind Union 2016