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I-voting for Blind and Visually Impaired - NSW, Australia

  • Synopsis: Published: 2010-09-06 - Introduction of technology supported voting for people in NSW who are blind or have low vision. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Department of aging, Disability and Home Care.

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I-voting report tabled in NSW Parliament - Minister for Disability Services Peter Primrose today spoke of the importance of a proposal that would see the introduction of technology supported voting for people in NSW who are blind or have low vision.

Speaking at the opening of Vision Australia's TEXPO exhibition, which showcases the latest technology available to help people who are blind or have low vision, Mr Primrose said that Cabinet would soon consider the proposal.

"Its timely that we are here today talking about the importance of technology and information that supports people who are blind or have low vision the day after a major step forward was prefaced by the Premier in the area of voting rights.

"The Keneally Government requested the Electoral Commissioner examine voting methods to ensure all people are able to exercise their democratic right to vote equally.

"And yesterday we tabled the Electoral Commissioner's report into i-voting, which recommends the introduction of internet and telephone voting for people who are blind or have low vision.

"This would allow a more equitable access to voting for the 70,000 blind or visually impaired electors in NSW who currently rely on assistance from a friend or relative or who wrestle with a Braille ballot paper which can be up to 67 pages long.

"The recommendations of the report will shortly be considered by Cabinet," he said.

Mr Primrose praised the work of Vision Australia saying the organization played an "absolutely critical role" in the community by providing information and advice to people who were blind or have low vision.

"We need to do more to make the community more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision and to ensure the rights of people are protected.

"That includes everything from enabling participation in the most fundamental right in a democratic country - the right to vote - to ensuring that people who are blind or have low vision have access to supporting information and technology.

"Vision Australia play a critical role by promoting the latest equipment and technology to improve the quality of life of people who are blind or have low vision.

"This exhibition, TEXPO, is a terrific way to showcase the latest technology that is available to help people who are blind or have low vision.

"Their quality of life is greatly improved by the terrific work of Vision Australia, who is one of the more entrepreneurial and innovative service providers in NSW," he said.

Mr Primrose said that Vision Australia provided a range of programs around the State which included social support, case management, accommodation, learning and life skills and therapy services.

"The NSW Government is pleased to have provided the organization with almost $3 million to continue its extensive range of services.

"In June last year, the NSW Government provided Vision Australia with an extra $1 million for a four year project to provide training for other organizations, to investigate the provision of flexible respite packages and for the purchase of new equipment.

"I look forward to continuing to work with Vision Australia to support the many people in NSW who are blind or have low vision that use their services," he said.

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