MEDIA RELEASE: CBA to become our most disability-friendly bank, unless you’re blind

Blind Citizens Australia congratulates the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on making its facilities more accessible for people with disability, and releasing its access and Inclusion plan 2017-2020. But we strongly criticise the CBA for rolling out over 75,000 devices to retail outlets that blind people cannot use independently.

The Commonwealth Bank is the only Australian bank to have released an EFTPOS device which has a touchscreen, but no telephone style keypad. The CBA has stated publicly that as of April this year, 75,000 of these devices are being used by retailers in the Australian market, with more being rolled out each week.

“You can’t aspire to be the most accessible bank in the country while continuing to create thousands of retail outlets which exclude people who are blind or vision impaired,” said Emma Bennison, Executive Officer of Blind Citizens Australia.

“You may have a great Smartphone banking app, and talking ATMs, but until your Albert EFTPOS machine can be used quickly and independently by people such as me who cannot see the touchscreen, you have not achieved access to your services for all Australians.”

The lack of a tactile, physical keypad on a machine, which has inadequate and inaccessible speech output, means that a person who cannot see the screen cannot independently complete their transaction.

“People who are blind are being asked to divulge their pin number to a retail staff member to make a payment. This is totally unacceptable, no doubt breaches the terms of their credit card agreement and is probably against the law. I cannot complete transactions which other Australians make ten or twenty times a day.” Ms Bennison said.

“We have raised this issue with the bank, and they are engaging with us. But in the mean-time, our members are finding that each week, many more shops and restaurants in their local communities are no longer accessible to them. This exclusion of thousands of people who are blind or vision impaired is simply unacceptable conduct from one of our largest corporate citizens.”

Blind Citizens Australia has requested the bank to stop the rollout until the machines are able to be used by all, and has encouraged other financial institutions not to go down the same path of exclusion.

Media contact: Emma Bennison
Ph: 0410 553383
E-mail: emma.bennison@bca.org.au

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) Media for Immediate Release, 23 December 2014

‘Disability Peaks Forced to Close Doors on People with Disability’ said Matthew Wright, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and spokesperson for the disability peaks.

Ten peak organisations run by people with disability will be left with no choice but to either close their doors or reduce services, with seven organisations subject to drastic funding cuts by outgoing Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews.

Together the disability peak bodies represent over 90% of Australians with disability and 83% of the identified disability groups in Australia. The organisations have over 200,000 supporters, including 140 organisations, consumer groups, service providers and carer associations.

“Organisations with over 200 combined years of expertise will be forced to shut their doors in three months time – leaving people who are blind, deaf, hearing impaired, people with intellectual disability, people with brain injury, people with autism and people with physical disabilities with no voice and no specialist representation”, said spokesperson Mr Matthew Wright.

“This expertise cannot be replicated. Once it’s lost, it’s lost. Our organisations have actively engaged in the Government’s workforce agenda, however this decision leaves our 200,000 constituents with a disability and their 140 supportive organisations out in the cold.

We believe that this decision, which reflects a misunderstanding of people with disability, will have significant ramifications on the ability of the Government to successfully implement reform for people with disability, including changes to income support and real efforts to increase economic participation.

Without specific representation, people with disability will be vulnerable to adverse outcomes in these areas and more.

This morning we requested an urgent meeting with incoming Minister Scott Morrison to discuss the decision before the voice of people with disability is irreversibly impacted”, said Mr Wright.

Consumer organisations that have been defunded or not funded to represent the specialist voice of people with disability under Department of Social Services contracts include:

  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia
  • Blind Citizens Australia
  • Brain Injury Australia
  • Deaf Australia
  • Deafness Forum of Australia
  • Down Syndrome Australia
  • National Council on Intellectual Disability
  • Physical Disability Australia
  • Short Statured People of Australia

Please direct all enquiries to Mr Matthew Wright on 0428 608 861.

Cheryl Gration
Personal Assistant to Matthew Wright, Chief Executive Officer
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
Level 2, 247 Flinders Lane, Melb 3000
T: 03 9662 3324 M: 0419 119 066
E: Cheryl Gration email
W: afdo website

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, the primary national voice to Government representing the interests of people with disability in Australia.

Brutal funding cuts no Christmas cheer for social services bodies

THE AUSTRALIAN (Newspaper) DECEMBER 22, 2014 7:53PM
Source: News Limited
Rick Morton – Social Affairs Reporter – Sydney
Rick Morton on Google Plus

Cruel Christmas for social services

Blind Citizens Australia national president Greg Madson: ‘Some can survive on other funding sources but many will have to close down.

The peak bodies for the disability, homelessness and community sectors were told which ones would lose funding just days before Christmas in an announcement from the Department of Social Services late this afternoon.

The budget-saving measure aims to haul back tens of millions of dollars by streamlining the number of representative bodies in the two sectors.

In the disability arena most condition-specific bodies like Blind Citizens Australia — which lost $190,000 — and two deaf groups, the Disability Advocacy Network Australia and Brain Injury Australia all had their funding revoked.

People with Disability Australia, First Peoples Disability Network, Children with Disability Australia and some other “cross-disability” organisations won funding.

Community Housing Federation Australia, National Shelter and Homelessness Australia also lost funding as part of a $21 million cut to the sector.

The new regime is part of the Department’s “A New Way of Working” grants process but the cuts came at the request of political masters looking for budget savings.

One source within the government said it was known the cuts would have to be “brutal”.

Some of the funding losses came only as a result of decisions taken for the most recent Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook update last week. Organisations were told only via phone call and told to keep the conversation confidential. They have still not received formal letters acknowledging the decision.

Blind Citizens Australia national president Greg Madson said peak body organisations would collapse.

“Some can survive on other funding sources but many will have to close down,” he said.

“It’s not a very nice realisation. We knew something was coming but we didn’t know it would look like this.”

Carol Croce, Executive Director of the Community Housing Federation Australia, said she was “profoundly disappointed”. The organisation’s funding was not only cut but its contract was severed one year in advance, stopping in June next year instead of 2016.

“We are profoundly disappointed at this decision,” she said.

“I just don’t understand how the government plans on continuing its discussions in these sectors when they are taking away the mechanisms to have those discussions about the future.”

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, which hoped to survive as a consortium for all condition-specific representative bodies also lost its funding.

The National Information Centre on Retirement Investments was also axed.

Greens spokeswoman on family and community services Rachel Siewert said the cuts delivered uncertainty.

“We’ve known that cuts were coming, but for organisations to hear the news that their funding has been cut just days before Christmas is very cruel,” she said.

“This inflicts maximum chaos and undermines the sector’s advocacy on behalf of vulnerable Australians.

“With a new Minister on the way, it is vital that organisations can engage on behalf of their stakeholders, but these cuts will make that impossible.”

The Department has been approached for comment.

Trudy’s award for advocacy

Congratulations to Trudy; an award and recognition well deserved.

20 May 2014

Waverley Leader newspaper Article written by Julia Rabar

Inspirational Trudy Ryall, with her assistance dog, Tyson, has been recognised for her
advocacy for people with disabilities.
DISABILITY campaigner Trudy Ryall was named an Outstanding Advocate of
People with Disabilities at the Sir John Monash Awards last week.
Ms Ryall, who is legally blind and was born deaf, thanked her family and community.
“Alone we can only do so little and together we can do so much,” Ms Ryall said, quoting
Helen Keller.
Ms Ryall was one of seven people acknowledged at a ceremony at the Monash Gallery
of Art during National Volunteers Week.
The Multicultural Champion award went to Joseph Jin for his work with culturally and
linguistically diverse communities.
Rosemary Snibson took home the Women’s Leadership award for her work at Dixon
House and All Saints Anglican Church.
The winner of the Youth Leadership award was Prateek Pillai, while Monash
Permaculture claimed the Sustainability Leadership award.
The Positive Ageing Leadership award was claimed by Gwen Clark, and the Active
Monash award went to Ceres Calisthenics Club.
Waverley RSL SubBranch president Neil Slaughter won the Volunteer of the Year award
as well as the overall Sir John Monash Award for Outstanding Leadership.
Monash Mayor Geoff Lake thanked the winners and finalists for their contributions.

Inaccessible CAPTCHA

Inaccessible CAPTCHA

ACCAN has published a pro forma letter on their website which you can use to inform businesses and organisations who continue to use inaccessible CAPTCHA that they are barring many people from accessing their site.

It is an easy to complete form which can be downloaded and filled in and then emailed or posted to the organisation with the inaccessible CCAPTCHA.

The letter is at

https://accan.org.au/news-items/hot-issues/781-captcha-what-you-can-do

Regards

Wayne Hawkins
Disability Policy Advisor

Australian Communications

Consumer Action Network

Suite 402

Level 4, 55 Mountain St

Ultimo NSW 2007

Ph: 02 9288 4000

Direct: 02 9288 4003

Mobile: 0412 543 016

Fax: 02 9288 4019

TTY: 02 9281 5322

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