A submission by ACCAN about the National Disability Strategy. 

Articles 9 and 21 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disability articulate the role of communications in making sure that people with disability enjoy human rights, freedoms and respect like other people. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) believes that access to information and communication services are an essential tool for all people with disability to be able to participate to the fullest extent possible in Australian society.

ACCAN called for the National Disability Strategy to adopt the following high level principle:

  • Acknowledge that affordable access to communication services and information technologies enables economic participation and promotes inclusive communities as well as assisting people to live independently.

ACCAN called for the National Disability Strategy to commit to the following areas for action:

  • Improve access to preferred information and communication equipment that will enable people with disability to access voice, voice-equivalent or text-to-speech telephony services and the internet and National Broadband Network.
  • Improve available, affordable and accessible communications services for people who are Deaf, or have a speech or hearing impairment to reflect new digital technologies available via the internet and provide access to emergency services via these service channels.
  • Ensure all levels of government and contracted public service providers deliver best practice in the accessibility of electronic, print, web and audio-visual communications.
  • Promote universal design of information and communication equipment by incorporating accessibility criteria in all government procurement policies and publicly funded service provider contracts.
  • Ensure people with disability have affordable and accessible internet, voice and government services delivered via the National Broadband Network.
  • Implement a transition plan to provide for universal audio description and captioned DVDs, Cinema, Online and television broadcast services of high quality, enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

These recommended action items need to be supported by robust performance indicators.
ACCAN encouraged the National Disability Strategy to adopt the following performance indicators to support these actions:

  • Increase in the proportion of people with a disability regularly using the internet.
  • Increase in the proportion of people with a disability having their preferred accessible telephone service in their home and at their place of work.
  • Increase in the proportion of DVDs, Cinema, Online and television broadcasts with captioned and audio description services.

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Download: National Disability Strategy.pdf [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.14 MB]
National Disability Strategy.doc [Word Document - 154.5 KB]