On this page you will find recent and past Blind Citizens Australia submissions to Federal and state government’s, Senate Inquiries and to other Government and non Government agencies.
NDIS ACT Review
The Australian Government commissioned an independent review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth) (NDIS Act), as required under Section 208 of the NDIS Act. In accordance with this legislative requirement, Disability Ministers had agreed that Ernst & Young (EY) conduct the review.
The purpose of the review is to assess the operation of the legislative framework (comprising the NDIS Act and the NDIS Rules) and develop recommendations as to whether any improvements can be made to better support the objectives and principles of the NDIS Act.
The Blind Citizens Australia submission to the discussion paper can be found here: BCA NDIS ACT Review October 2015 (Word doc)
Submission Inquiry into the SA Election 2014
Imagine for a moment that is Election Day. And that you are totally blind. Perhaps you will have already completed a postal vote with the assistance of a friend or family member – a process that has robbed you of dignity and severely compromised the notion of a secret ballot. Or, perhaps you have decided to cast your vote at a polling centre. You aren’t really sure how to get there in the first place and, when finally making it to your destination, you are overwhelmed by the crowds of people that you need to navigate in order to be able to cast your vote.
As this example demonstrates, the electoral process can still be quite complicated for a person who is blind or vision impaired. For this reason, securing a method of casting a secret, independent and verifiable vote for people who are blind or vision impaired remains at the top of Blind Citizens Australia’s policy agenda.
Read BCA’s submission Inquiry into the SA Election 2014
A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes
– August 2014
Work is the cornerstone of social inclusion. It generates wages, less reliance on welfare, dignity, a sense of purpose and productivity. Given the long-term unemployment, or under-employment experienced by many Australians who are blind or vision impaired, Blind Citizens Australia believes that a shift in the current system is necessary to ensure systemic change. These reforms should be underpinned by a sustainable welfare system that is targeted towards those in need and that guarantees that no Australian will be worse off, or left behind as a result of the changes.
Read BCA’s submission to the A New System for Better Employment and
Social Outcomes (Word doc) report
Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Review 2012: Response to the Draft Review Report – July 2014
While access to public transport has improved in a number of ways since
the implementation of the standards in 2002, and the first five year review in 2007, there continue to be a number of barriers preventing people who are blind or vision impaired from enjoying full access to the transport experience. We are also greatly concerned about the lower levels of compliance reported in rural and regional areas and strongly believe that low levels of demand for accessible public transport should not negate the need to provide a service that is universally accessible.
These and other aspects were outlined in the Blind Citizens Australia’s response to the 2012 Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Draft Review Report (Word doc)
Inquiry into the Conduct of the 2013 Federal Election
Blind Citizens Australia developed a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, providing input into the Inquiry into the Conduct of the 2013 Federal Election.
This 2013 Election Inquirey submission (Word doc) focuses primarily on the user experience of electors in relation to the Blind and Vision Impaired Telephone-assisted Voting Service, as well as the desired future pathway for accessible voting in Australia.
2013-2014 Federal Budget
Summary of budget announcements;
Read the summary of budget announcements (Word doc) which are relevant to people who are blind or vision impaired as analysed by Blind Citizens Australia.
Audio Description on Commercial TV
In July 2013, BCA, on behalf of Australians who are blind or vision impaired lodged 21 complaints of disability discrimination against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for their failure to provide content that is fully accessible.
These complaints, lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission, reflect the growing dissatisfaction amongst the blind and vision impaired community, who continue to be excluded from television programming.
Read Blind Citizens Australia’s Accessible TV media release (Word doc)
We also received great media coverage in The Australian – read the article (Word doc).
Keep up to date with our campaigns for audio description on commercial TV, audio description in cinemas and on DVDs, the digital switchover and all things media access.
This includes access to our It’s Our Turn newsletters which provides information on how things progressed.
Australian Dental Association on regarding assistance animals
Read Blind Citizen’s Australia’s recent Australian Dental Association submission (Word doc) on access to treatment rooms for persons accompanied by assistance animals.
This submission aims to address the high level of discrimination that still occurs in dental settings and will help to inform the Australian Dental Association’s revised disability policy.
Blind Citizens Australia Employment Submissions
Blind Citizen’s Australia released a report for the then Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs focusing on the employment of people who are blind or vision impaired.
Inquiry into improving the employment participation of people with disability
Take a look and Read our submission on improving employment participation (Word doc) to the 2013 Inquiry which outlines the barriers experienced by people who are blind or vision impaired in gaining meaningful employment and career progression.
Recommendations of how the Australian government can meet their national and international obligations and practical solutions to improve employment are included in this submission.
Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Review 2012
In March 2013, Blind Citizens Australia held three teleconferences and sought feedback from our members on their public transport experiences over the last five years.
Blind Citizens Australia has prepared the following report for the Department of Infrastructure and Transport which includes the experiences of people who are blind or vision impaired when using public transport services across Australia.
Draft National Standards for Disability Services
Read Blind Citizens Australia’s Draft National Standards for Disability Services submission (Word doc) about the Draft National Standards for Disability Services.
Our 2012 submission includes recommendations for service provider information accessible formats, independent dispute resolution processes, proportional representation of people with disability on boards and mentoring opportunities, in addition to the provision of high quality services.
TGA Medicine Labelling and Packaging Review
Clear, accessible information on medication is important for all consumers. For someone who is blind or vision impaired, that clear, accessible information is critical to ensure that the right medication is being taken at the right dosage
Read BCA’s Medicine Labelling and Packaging Review (Word doc) 2012 submission.
Review into the conduct of the 2010 Federal Election
At the 2010 Australian Federal election accessible voting for people who were blind or vision impared was trialled. After the election a review of how the trial was conducted, and how people who were blind or vision impaired took the opportunity to use the accessible system, was undertaken by a joint standing committee on electoral matters.
Read BCA;s response to JSCEM Review (Word doc) on how the election went.
BCA Submission – DSP Impairment Table Review 2010
Approximately 90% of Blind Citizens Australia members are people who meet the criteria of legal blindness, many of whom receive the Disability Support Pension (Blind) or Age Pension (Blind). This high proportion is due to our membership classification, which until 2006, only permitted Full membership to people who are legally blind, with people who are vision impaired or sighted able to join as Associate members of the organisation. We therefore caution that our comments may not be reflective of the full and varying needs of people experiencing each visual condition.
In preparation for this review, Blind Citizens Australia spoke with a number of orthoptists and professionals who work with people on the cusp of legal blindness or who have vision conditions which impacts on their daily living skills. Agencies included Royal Society for the Blind in South Australia, Centre of Eye Health in NSW (an initiative between Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and University of NSW) and Vision Australia.
this DSP Impairment Table Review (Word doc) submission supplies recommendations on a number of standards and tests which can be used to provide more effective assessments.
- Access to Telecommunications Inquiry (Word doc)
- Consolidation of Anti-Discrimination Law (Word doc)
- Proposed Commissioner for Children and Young People (Word doc)
State Specific Updates
New South Wales Review of the NSW Disability Services Act
Blind Citizens Australia published a submission to inform the 2013 Disability Services Act Review Team regarding the direct experiences of people who are blind or vision impaired and the vision of how to access disability specific and mainstream services that best meet their needs.
Transport for NSW – Draft Disability Action Plan 2012-2017
Read a joint DAP submission (Word doc) prepared by Blind Citizens Australia, Vision Australia and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, with input from the Association of Blind Citizens of NSW.
Our joint submission addresses the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired in relation to the draft Disability Action Plan, including the use of technology, accessible information, taxi access, buses and trains and makes specific comment on the strategies proposed by Transport NSW.
Report on Audible Announcements on Public Transport
Blind Citizens Australia have published a report titled ‘Tell Me Where I Am: Audible Announcements and the experience of people who are blind or vision impaired on Melbourne transport’.
This report provides a snapshot of the frequency of audible announcements on board trains, trams and buses during a two week period in April 2012 and provides a series of recommendations to address and improve current performance.
Submission to the Victorian Government’s Accessible Public Transport Action Plan 2013-2017
Blind Citizens Australia have published a submission to inform the Victorian Government’s Accessible Public Transport Action Plan 2013-2017 regarding the public transport barriers and needs of people who are blind or vision impaired.
VIC – Taxi Industry Inquiry
The Victorian Taxi Inquiry aims to undertake a comprehensive investigation into all aspects of the taxi and hire car industry and recommend a set of reforms to the Victorian government focused on achieving better outcomes for the travelling public, including passengers with disabilities.
And our submission