Welcome to Blind Citizens Australia

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) is the united voice of Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

Our mission is to achieve equity and equality by our empowerment, by promoting positive community attitudes, and by striving for high quality and accessible services which meet our needs.

Whether you are blind, have a vision impairment yourself, or are the family member or friend of a person who is blind or vision impaired, BCA is here to assist you. We provide information, peer support, individual and systemic advocacy, and consultancy services. Our Branches act as local lobby groups and provide opportunities for social interaction for members.

Explore our site. Learn about us. Listen to SoundAbout for profiles of people who are blind or vision impaired and those working with our community. If you are interested in audio-described TV, cinema and DVD content check out It’s Our Turn. Set your dial and tune in to our weekly radio program New Horizons. For the issues and policies that affect you, plus useful information and tips, turn to the pages of BC News or Parent News.

Welcome to BCA, the national organisation of people who are blind or vision impaired.

contact BCA:

Toll Free:
1800 033 660

Phone:
(03) 9654 1400

Email: Blind Citizens Australia

Donate to Blind Citizens Australia by using the PayPal button below




Visually impaired and blind workers: undervalued, underemployed

Article from the Sydney Morning Herald – 13 October

Reporter: Julie Power

Lauren Henley has developed superhero-like powers as she navigates the world of work.

Blinded when she was 20, Ms Henley uses a form of “echo-location” – clicking her fingers or tongue to produce echos much like a bat’s navigation – to find her way around a new office and a new city.

“The noise bounces off objects in your environment. You can use it to work out different bits of information, such as how large the object is,” said Ms Henley who moved to Sydney two weeks ago to work as an adviser at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

“Normally I use a tongue click,” she said, demonstrating the technique. “You do it discreetly if you are inside. If I am in a louder environment, such as busy peak-hour traffic, where I can’t hear much, I either tap my cane or click my fingers.”

Ms Henley was trained by Daniel Kish, the leader of a global movement to teach blind people to see using their ears. He was brought to Australia by Guide Dogs NSW /ACT.

Some disability advocates fear this skill can make people with visual impairment look like “superhuman freaks”, but 27-year-old Ms Henley said it had bolstered her independence and confidence, allowing her to travel independently for work and pleasure.

People who are blind or have a vision impairment are four times as likely to be unemployed than average, finds new research by Guide Dogs. Around 37 per cent of its clients are unemployed, many are underemployed, and nearly all want more work. Once they find a job, they are more loyal and take far less sick leave.

After losing most of her sight in 2001, Sally-Anne Giliam, the executive assistant to NSW Roads’ Minister Duncan Gay, has developed another skill that is nearly as impressive in an era when most people store phone numbers in mobile phones.

To save time, Ms Giliam – who was promoted from receptionist to EA and office manager – remembers more than 1000 phone numbers. She has become the “eyes” of her office, the person who knows where things are kept.

Ms Giliam uses an identification cane when she catches public transport to work. In the office, she uses screen reading technology and magnification.

Her screen reading technology is so accurate that she is often asked to proof the office’s documents. Once she spotted an error in a draft press release, announcing a tax on toads instead of a tax on roads, that had been missed by others.

The research was commissioned to address employer concerns that people who can’t see can’t work because they won’t be able to get to work, read emails or use a computer.

Before Ms Henley started her new job, a mobility expert from Guide Dogs spent the weekend with her, helping her navigate public transport to work and around the new office that sprawls over several floors, so she could find the bathrooms, the lunch room, the meeting room and her office.

“It is so extremely daunting to start a new job. So the ability to learn how to get around before you even start was really empowering,” she said.

“Having a job provides me with financial security and greater flexibility in terms of the life that I choose to lead.

“But beyond that, it gives me a sense of self-worth, the opportunity to get out and meet people and the opportunity to fight for a cause that I am passionate about.

“For me, not having a job would be devastating.”

New Horizons program 369

This week on program 369 of New Horizons, Rikki Chaplin speaks with Emma Bennison, Chief Executive Officer of Arts Access Australia, following her trip to the UK to research leadership in the arts and cultural sector, of people with disabilities.

The direct link to listen is

Listen to Program 369

and to download is

Download Program 369

New Horizons is Blind Citizens Australia’s weekly radio program. It can be heard on RPH and community radio stations throughout Australia. Broadcast times and stations are at

http://wp.me/P4cPvC-1K

New Horizons can also be heard over the Internet from the Blind Citizens Australia web site at

http://www.bca.org.au

And on the Global Voice at

http://theglobalvoice.info

New Horizons is produced at the studios of Vision Australia Radio in Melbourne. Blind Citizens Australia thanks Vision Australia for their technical Support and for the use of their resources. You can visit Vision Australia on the web at

http://www.visionaustralia.org

New Horizons program 368

This week on program 368 of New Horizons, Sue Hastie speaks with Rikki Chaplin, the regular presenter of New Horizons, and with Sharyl Brockett, who tell us a little about themselves and their new roles as Advocacy and Policy Officers with Blind Citizens Australia.

The direct link to listen is

Listen to program 368

and to download is

Download Program 368

New Horizons is Blind Citizens Australia’s weekly radio program. It can be heard on RPH and community radio stations throughout Australia. Broadcast times and stations are at

http://wp.me/P4cPvC-1K

New Horizons can also be heard over the Internet from the Blind Citizens Australia web site at

http://www.bca.org.au

And on the Global Voice at

http://theglobalvoice.info

New Horizons is produced at the studios of Vision Australia Radio in Melbourne. Blind Citizens Australia thanks Vision Australia for their technical Support and for the use of their resources. You can visit Vision Australia on the web at

http://www.visionaustralia.org

Update – Blind Citizens Australia Annual General Meeting 2014

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) held its 39th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Melbourne, at the Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens Hotel, 13 Spring Street, Melbourne on Saturday 4 October 2014 at 11.00am. the meeting was streamed live over the internet and a recoarding will be made available shortly.

The BCA 2014 AGM agenda included conformation of the 2013 AGM Minutes a presentation and discussion of the Annual Report and Financial Statements as well as the announcement of the election of Directors and NPDC representative for Western Australia.

Changes to Board and NPDC representation

the Board of BCA would like to welcome Lauren Henley and Michael Baker newly elected members to the BCA Board.

BCA Director’s terms completed at the 2014 AGM were; Cheryl Pascual, Anna Briggs, Michael Sadhu and Bruce Ind. The board would like to pass on its appreciation to Cheryl, Anna, Michael and Bruce for their dedication energy and effort during their time on the Board.

There was one election for a position on the National Policy and Development Council(NPDC); Western Australia held a ballot for electing their representative for the NPDC.

A very close result; congradulations to Grace King being elected as NPDC representative for Western Australia.

Annual Report

If you would like a personal copy of the 2013-2014 BCA Annual Report, please call the National Office on 03 9654 1400 or 1800 033 660 to request. This Report is available in large print, Braille, or by email only. As soon as the Report is available it will be sent to you in your preferred format. The Report is also published on the BCA Website on the Publications page.

Revised Constitution

As there was much interest and suggestion shown in regard to Consideration of the proposed Revised Constitution in the weeks leading up to the AGM; at the Board meeting held on Friday 3rd October, the Board decided not to present the proposed amended constitution for adoption, but would pass it back to the Governance Committee with a view to further member consultation.

This year the Board members have been looking very closely at all of the BCA Governance documents with a view to ensure that they are up-to-date with current practices and with recent legislative changes. The BCA Constitution was last revised in 2007

This document takes into account the changes to the Charities Act as well as the recommendations from members to reduce the “red tape” where possible.

Copies of the revised constitution, along with a summary outlining the differences between the 2007 Constitution (Word doc) and this 2014 Revised Constitution (Word doc) are also available from the National Office by request.

If you have any questions relating to the proposed changes, please do not hesitate to contact any of the Directors, or the Executive Officer, Rosemary Boyd.

Rosemary Boyd
Company Secretary