Blind Citizens Australia Wins Human Rights Award

Blind Citizens Australia Wins Human Rights Award

BCA was honoured to win the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Community Organisation award in December 2017. The award recognises organisations who have a proven track record in the advancement of human rights in the Australian community. The Awards have been presented by the Australian Human Rights Commission since 1987.

Five community organisations were short-listed as finalists. BCA received the award in recognition of its key role in bringing about significant changes which have improved the lives of Australians who are blind or vision-impaired. These have included successfully advocating for tactile ground surface indicators, and for the introduction of blindness-specific requirements into the education, transport and accessible premises standards, to name a few. You can read a more detailed list of BCA’s achievements compiled in honour of the organisation’s fortieth anniversary in 2015 here.

The award was presented at a ceremony held in Sydney on 8 December. Over 500 people were in attendance, including the Attorney-General, other senior politicians, the Human Rights Commissioners and numerous community leaders.

BCA received a trophy depicting a figure holding a globe of the world, which is the logo of the Australian Human Rights Commission. The text engraved onto the trophy reads:

“Human Rights Awards 2017
Community Organisation Award
Blind Citizens Australia”


In receiving the award, the current BCA leadership team has acknowledged and thanked the organisation’s members and former leaders for their tireless commitment to “changing what it means to be blind” in Australia for over forty years.

Give the Gift of Advocacy

Dear BCA friends,

My name is Annabelle Waller. I’m a proud Blind Citizens Australia member and an executive committee member of Blind Citizens WA. I’m also a university student completing my BA in Psychology and
Counselling at Edith Cowen University as well as a Cert III in Business.

One of the highlights of 2017 for me was participating in the BCA National Convention, travelling to Melbourne from Perth! BCA covered travel and accommodation costs. I have multiple impairments which mean I need to travel with a support worker. So, without BCA’s assistance I would not have been able to afford to attend. Due to your generosity I was able to have this life-changing opportunity, catch up with other people from around the country from within this amazing community and make life long friends. I just wanted to say a big thank you.

Through your donations to BCA, myself and other BCA members were able to attend a convention which delivered so many memorable experiences. Like Dr Fred Schroeder’s key note address around the importance of seeking support from other blind people to reduce discrimination and reminding us that we should not allow the low expectations of society to limit us. I must admit to being completely star struck to be able to be in the same room as this legend! There were also sessions on emerging technologies and employment, workshops targeted at students on study techniques, a look at historical perspectives on
blindness, a workshop on building self-confidence and communication skills and an introduction to audio editing.

As you are probably aware BCA exists to positively promote our needs and rights within the community and to “change what it means to be blind”. BCA can continue to advocate, inform and offer opportunities for people who are blind or vision impaired to support each other through the generosity of people like you.

Today, as Christmas fast approaches, I would like to ask you to do the following. Please join with me in helping BCA to continue to support Australians who are blind or vision impaired through a one off donation, or through a regular donation to BCA’s recently renamed monthly giving program, “BCA Backers”. These are the areas where your contribution, whether large or small can really make a difference:

  • $30 will cover the cost of responding and managing an information request from a person who is blind or vision impaired
  • $50 will enable us to communicate important advocacy information to 3000 BCA members quickly via text message
  • $100 will support a teleconference of a local BCA branch to provide information and peer support for ten people who are blind or vision impaired
  • $200 will support a meeting of our National Policy Council via teleconference
  • $500 will allow us to support a future leader to attend a BCA convention or development forum for the first time.

Share the great work BCA does with your friends and family. Follow BCA on Facebook or Twitter, get involved in some of the great advocacy work they do.

Why not suggest to your friends and family that they support BCA with a donation in your name as an altruistic alternative to a Christmas gift. Donations can be made online by following the “Make a Donation” link above, by filling in this donation form, or by calling BCA on 1800 033 660. All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.

Please donate. Pick up the phone. Connect with BCA on the web. Embrace the true spirit of the festive season – Give now.

Happy Holidays!
Annabelle Waller


Blind Citizens NSW Makes Historic Decision

At a Special General Meeting held in Sydney on Saturday 2 December, the members of Blind Citizens NSW (BCNSW) voted in favour of the two resolutions required to consolidate BCNSW into BCA. BCA has congratulated members of BCNSW on this historic decision which will ensure that people who are blind or vision impaired in NSW and the ACT benefit from 150 years of collective advocacy experience, whilst retaining the strong, local community connectedness which has been central to the success of BCNSW for over a century. BCNSW members also spoke in support of the consolidation, both in terms of the benefits to people who are blind or vision impaired and the consolidation of limited resources to reduce duplication and maximise the impact for members across the state.

Graeme Innes was appointed as President of the interim BCNSW Management Committee with responsibility for winding up the organisation and transferring BCNSW operations and assets to BCA. Graeme indicated that members of BCNSW would have their membership transferred to BCA but that they could opt out if they did not wish to become BCA members.

BCA President, John Simpson, welcomed BCNSW staff to the BCA team and said that a top priority would be to transfer their employment to BCA. A NSW state division has now been created by the BCA board. When the board meets in Melbourne next weekend it will appoint the NSW state division committee which will join with key stakeholders for a planning day in mid February.


Notice of Annual General Meeting

Blind Citizens Australia will hold its 42nd Annual General Meeting in Melbourne on Friday 13 October 2017. Join us at the Novotel Glen Waverley, 285 Springvale Road, Glen Waverley, at 7:00PM. The meeting will be followed by a welcome dinner as part of the 2017 National Convention. Visit our Events page or read more here to find out everything you need to know about the AGM.

Statement from Blind Citizens Australia Leadership Development Forum, July 2017

Statement from Blind Citizens Australia Leadership Development Forum, July 2017

Blind Citizens Australia held its first ever leadership development forum in Melbourne from 7th to 9th July 2017. The forum brought together 50 key members of the organisation, including directors, staff, presidents of local branches, emerging leaders and others with key roles in the organisation, for a weekend of working sessions and presentations from 15 speakers.

The objectives of the forum were to build leadership skills, increase BCA’s capacity to engage with marginalised and isolated people, and to begin the process of establishing a cohesive network to provide peer support to the organisation’s leaders.

Read the full statement from the Leadership Development Forum.