An audio guide to tax and super

Do you find it easier to listen to information about tax and superannuation than to read it? We’ve produced a range of audio guides about tax and super to meet this need.

Check out the ‘Protect your personal information’ guide which helps you avoid getting scammed. ‘Super basics – an audio guide’ provides a simple overview about how to manage your superannuation. Other audio guides focus on how to look after your business including how to lodge your business activity statement and managing your GST obligations.

To listen, visit: www.ato.gov.au/audioguides

International Day: How far have we come and where are we going?

Dear BCA members

It’s been a while since I wrote to the lists, and I thought that International Day of People with Disability was a good time to tell you why. It’s not because we’re pushed into a corner and fighting to survive. It’s because we’re out there doing the work.

On International Day of People with Disability, it’s important that we stop to look at how far we’ve come, and to think about how far we still have to go.

How far have we come?

Since July, our fantastic Policy and Advocacy Officers, Rikki and Hanna, have taken on a steady stream of individual advocacy cases across the range of challenges we face: access to Centrelink, getting a job, getting the information we need in the form that we need it to go about our daily lives. BCA is also supporting systemic outcomes through feisty members like Suzy Hudson, who wants the audio description trial on the ABC extended to television for people who can’t use the internet, and we’re talking to government about how to make sure programs which affect us, like the NDIS, roll out with good design for people who are blind or vision impaired.

Our members and branches are the heart of BCA, so it’s important to say that the office is here to serve you, and that’s been a big part of our work too. Many of you have called or emailed us to talk about what you’d like to see BCA doing, and while we can’t do all of it at once, we love to hear your ideas and share your passion.

Since July, we’ve held three rounds of member forums focussing on issues you told us were most important to you: pedestrian safety, access to information and public transport. We’ve also had two rounds of Meet the CEO teleconferences. We’ll have more to say about “where to from here”? on both of those fronts in the new year.

Each one of our Branches does a substantial amount of work to keep people who are blind or vision impaired informed, connected and advocating. I’ve been amazed to hear about the variety of work done by Branches since I came back to BCA. Some of the Branches – like Geelong – do a great job of bringing people together for social fun as well as advocacy. Others – like Adelaide – spend time talking to government about a range of issues, like better laws to protect people who are blind or vision impaired using the footpath. Then there are branches that spread knowledge amongst themselves: Tweed Heads Branch makes sure everyone knows what all their entitlements are, and helps those who haven’t got access to critical assistance like taxi passes to get them.

Where to from here?

“Where to from here?” is a big question for BCA right now. Over the weekend, the Board met face to face to hold their second meeting and discussed our future. There will be more said by the Board in a communique to be released in the next few weeks, but a big piece of work in the near future will be re-developing our strategic plan so that it better reflects our current situation.

Here is a list of Board portfolio holders (Word docx) and BCA external representatives which you can use as a reference for who might be important to contact about ideas or issues that matter to you.

“Where to from here?” also has some immediate practical implications. At the Leader’s Summit in June, participants talked a lot about the need for BCA to build new relationships and make sure our existing ones remain strong. Since then, the office has been busily working to do this, meeting with government bodies like the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Victorian Department of Transport, working with other policy focused organisations in our sector like the Australian Blindness Forum and Vision 2020 Australia and their service provider members, such as Vision Australia, to focus on key issues such as aged care, telecommunications and employment.

We’ve spoken to some federal politicians responsible for disability, and talked to others involved in relevant Parliamentary Committees. These activities don’t always produce immediate results, but help to make sure our unique voice of lived experience remains loud and clear.

I’d like to draw your attention to two great announcements today which speak to a lot of hard behind-the-scenes work across the sector.

Firstly, the NDIS has announced full Tasmanian roll out details. You can find out more here: Full Tasmanian NDIS Roll out

Secondly, the Federal ALP has announced that, if elected, they will be funding an extra $2 million per year for existing and new disability peak bodies. Their media release can be found here: labor to fund more advocacy for people with disability

Both of these announcements are exciting for BCA and its members, and show that over time attitudes to the importance of people with disability having a say in their own lives are changing for the better.

Most of all, when we ask “where to from here?” at BCA – whether we’re staff, members or Board – we want the journey to be with you. Call, email or write to us if you have suggestions or questions about what we’re doing. Keep us accountable, and help BCA to stay strong.

Kind regards

Leah van Poppel
Chief Executive Officer
Blind Citizens Australia
Ross House
Level 3, 247-251 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Mobile: 0430 210 980
Toll Free: 1800 033 660
Phone: 03 9654 1400
Email: leah.van.poppel@bca.org.au
Web: www.bca.org.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BlindCitizensAustralia
Twitter: @au_BCA
ABN: 90 006 985 226
BCA acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.

Launch of 15 month trial of Audio Description on ABC iview

Today, 14 April, The ABC is launching a 15 month trial of their Audio Description on ABC iview on iOS devices.

ABC iview will be introduced on other iview platforms (desktop, android and HBBTV) in coming months.

You might find the instructional clip with information on how to access AD on iview useful. It can be found here: ABC Iview instructional Youtube clip

A FAQs document on the AD trial can be found here: AD Iview FAQ(Word docx)

You will also find some programming highlights from the first week of the trial here: AD Iview Trial Programs Week 1(Word docx)

To provide your feedbac during the trial, or for any other information pleas visit the ABC’s AD website

Australian Banknotes: Assisting People with Vision Impairment

Bulletin – March Quarter 2015
Australian Banknotes: Assisting People with Vision Impairment
Kylie Springer, Priya Subramanian and Terence Turton

Abstract:

A key function of the Reserve Bank is to design and produce banknotes that meet the needs of all sections of the community. The Bank has consulted a wide range of subject matter experts and stakeholders to ensure that the next generation of Australia’s banknotes reflects Australia’s cultural identity, is secure and remains functional. One aspect of functionality is that the banknotes are accessible to people with vision impairment. This article outlines the work the Bank has undertaken to meet the needs of the vision-impaired community, from the paper decimal banknote series that was issued in 1966 through to the forthcoming next generation series of banknotes.

Australian Banknotes: Assisting People with Vision Impairment – YouTube Clip

View transcript

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.