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Australia to Improve Media Access for Vision and Hearing Impaired

  • Published: 2009-11-27 : Author: Carl Farmer
  • Synopsis: Access to television cinema and other electronic media for people with a hearing or vision impairment.

The Rudd Government today called for public input on ways to improve access to television, cinema and other electronic media for people with a hearing or vision impairment.

Senator Conroy and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Bill Shorten MP, today published a discussion report, Access to Electronic Media for the Hearing and Vision Impaired: Approaches for Consideration. The report identifies approaches aimed at improved audio description and captioning levels in Australia on free-to-air and subscription television, films in cinemas, DVDs and audio-visual content on the internet.

"Electronic media is an important source of information and entertainment for the entire community and it is important that we work to ensure people with a hearing or vision impairment can access the services they require," said the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

"I encourage the media industry, people with a vision and hearing impairment, and representative groups, to continue to actively participate in this investigation about improving access to media services."

"Society has a responsibility to support the social inclusion of people with disabilities and senior Australians," Mr Shorten said.

If people with disability are to be full participants in society it is crucial that they have the same access to television, the internet and other forms of communication as the rest of the community. I would urge all people with disability to make their opinions heard and contribute to this review.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, whose invention of the first writing system that could be used by the blind. We live in an information age, and we need to continue Louis Braille's work to make as much information as possible available to people with a hearing or vision impairment.

The paper is now available from the Department in print and audio file, and via printed ink and Braille copies as requested. Submissions close on January 29.

Further details about the investigation, and how to make submissions, are online:

For those who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment please contact the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy through the National Relay Service:

TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 02 6271 1000

Internet relay users connect to and then ask for 02 6271 1000

Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 6271 1000

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