The Australian Commonwealth Government does not have a comprehensive procurement policy for the purchase of accessible information and communications technology (ICT). The negative roll-on effects of this policy gap have significant implications for the whole Australian community. In particular the ramifications of this ongoing policy gap continue to disadvantage and exclude some of our most vulnerable citizens with disability.
A comprehensive Commonwealth public procurement policy for accessible ICT will help to ensure that:
- All public service workplaces procure accessible ICT providing significant employment benefits for current and future employees with disability
- All public sector electronic information is accessible to people with disability
- All public sector services delivered electronically are accessible for people with disability
- That greater choice of accessible products and services will be available in the Australian ICT marketplace
- Australia will be protected from becoming a dumping-ground for the inaccessible products which are unsellable in those overseas markets where public procurement policies for accessible ICT are in place
The 2013 House Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications inquiry into IT Pricing recommended the Commonwealth consider adopting a whole-of-government procurement policy for accessible IT, as follows:
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider a whole-of-government accessible IT procurement policy, to be developed by relevant agencies including AGIMO, and in consultation with relevant stakeholder groups including ACCAN.
The 2016 Australian Human Rights Commission report ‘Willing to Work‘ makes the following recommendations;
- Recommendation 44: Governments actively participate in the discussions with Standards Australia and ensure that government procurement policies mandate the purchase of accessible ICT.
- Recommendation 45: That the Australian Government implement service level standards to drive a whole of government approach to accessible ICT procurement and development.
- Recommendation 46: That the Australian Government require all new technology products and software used in the Australian Public Service meets accessible design guidelines currently being developed by Standards Australia.
ACCAN is calling on all parties to commit to the adoption of a whole-of-government procurement policy for accessible ICT. Ensuring that all government information and services are accessible and usable will provide greater economic, social and political participation opportunities for Australians with disability, including greater employment opportunities within the Public Sector.
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