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




Important Notice

For Immediate Release

1 December 2014

Blind Citizens Australia Announces Resignation of Executive Officer

It is with regret that the board of Blind Citizens Australia, (BCA) has today accepted the resignation of our Executive Officer Rosemary Boyd. Rosemary’s resignation will take effect from 1 January 2015, following a period of well-deserved personal leave.

BCA President, Greg Madson thanked Rosemary for her commitment and dedication to the organisation. “On behalf of the Directors, I want to publicly express our sincere appreciation for Rosemary’s tireless attention to advocating on issues impacting the lives of people who are blind or vision-impaired.”

BCA board members will support staff in ensuring the smooth running of the organisation until a recruitment process to appoint a replacement Executive Officer is finalised early in 2015. The board recognises the need to undertake this process in a timely manner and thanks members for their understanding and patience at this time.

ENDS

Media Contact:

Greg Madson, President
Ph: 0408 396 333

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) Media for Immediate Release, 23 December 2014

‘Disability Peaks Forced to Close Doors on People with Disability’ said Matthew Wright, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and spokesperson for the disability peaks.

Ten peak organisations run by people with disability will be left with no choice but to either close their doors or reduce services, with seven organisations subject to drastic funding cuts by outgoing Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews.

Together the disability peak bodies represent over 90% of Australians with disability and 83% of the identified disability groups in Australia. The organisations have over 200,000 supporters, including 140 organisations, consumer groups, service providers and carer associations.

“Organisations with over 200 combined years of expertise will be forced to shut their doors in three months time – leaving people who are blind, deaf, hearing impaired, people with intellectual disability, people with brain injury, people with autism and people with physical disabilities with no voice and no specialist representation”, said spokesperson Mr Matthew Wright.

“This expertise cannot be replicated. Once it’s lost, it’s lost. Our organisations have actively engaged in the Government’s workforce agenda, however this decision leaves our 200,000 constituents with a disability and their 140 supportive organisations out in the cold.

We believe that this decision, which reflects a misunderstanding of people with disability, will have significant ramifications on the ability of the Government to successfully implement reform for people with disability, including changes to income support and real efforts to increase economic participation.

Without specific representation, people with disability will be vulnerable to adverse outcomes in these areas and more.

This morning we requested an urgent meeting with incoming Minister Scott Morrison to discuss the decision before the voice of people with disability is irreversibly impacted”, said Mr Wright.

Consumer organisations that have been defunded or not funded to represent the specialist voice of people with disability under Department of Social Services contracts include:

  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia
  • Blind Citizens Australia
  • Brain Injury Australia
  • Deaf Australia
  • Deafness Forum of Australia
  • Down Syndrome Australia
  • National Council on Intellectual Disability
  • Physical Disability Australia
  • Short Statured People of Australia

Please direct all enquiries to Mr Matthew Wright on 0428 608 861.

Cheryl Gration
Personal Assistant to Matthew Wright, Chief Executive Officer
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
Level 2, 247 Flinders Lane, Melb 3000
T: 03 9662 3324 M: 0419 119 066
E: Cheryl Gration email
W: afdo website

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, the primary national voice to Government representing the interests of people with disability in Australia.

Brutal funding cuts no Christmas cheer for social services bodies

THE AUSTRALIAN (Newspaper) DECEMBER 22, 2014 7:53PM
Source: News Limited
Rick Morton – Social Affairs Reporter – Sydney
Rick Morton on Google Plus

Cruel Christmas for social services

Blind Citizens Australia national president Greg Madson: ‘Some can survive on other funding sources but many will have to close down.

The peak bodies for the disability, homelessness and community sectors were told which ones would lose funding just days before Christmas in an announcement from the Department of Social Services late this afternoon.

The budget-saving measure aims to haul back tens of millions of dollars by streamlining the number of representative bodies in the two sectors.

In the disability arena most condition-specific bodies like Blind Citizens Australia — which lost $190,000 — and two deaf groups, the Disability Advocacy Network Australia and Brain Injury Australia all had their funding revoked.

People with Disability Australia, First Peoples Disability Network, Children with Disability Australia and some other “cross-disability” organisations won funding.

Community Housing Federation Australia, National Shelter and Homelessness Australia also lost funding as part of a $21 million cut to the sector.

The new regime is part of the Department’s “A New Way of Working” grants process but the cuts came at the request of political masters looking for budget savings.

One source within the government said it was known the cuts would have to be “brutal”.

Some of the funding losses came only as a result of decisions taken for the most recent Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook update last week. Organisations were told only via phone call and told to keep the conversation confidential. They have still not received formal letters acknowledging the decision.

Blind Citizens Australia national president Greg Madson said peak body organisations would collapse.

“Some can survive on other funding sources but many will have to close down,” he said.

“It’s not a very nice realisation. We knew something was coming but we didn’t know it would look like this.”

Carol Croce, Executive Director of the Community Housing Federation Australia, said she was “profoundly disappointed”. The organisation’s funding was not only cut but its contract was severed one year in advance, stopping in June next year instead of 2016.

“We are profoundly disappointed at this decision,” she said.

“I just don’t understand how the government plans on continuing its discussions in these sectors when they are taking away the mechanisms to have those discussions about the future.”

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, which hoped to survive as a consortium for all condition-specific representative bodies also lost its funding.

The National Information Centre on Retirement Investments was also axed.

Greens spokeswoman on family and community services Rachel Siewert said the cuts delivered uncertainty.

“We’ve known that cuts were coming, but for organisations to hear the news that their funding has been cut just days before Christmas is very cruel,” she said.

“This inflicts maximum chaos and undermines the sector’s advocacy on behalf of vulnerable Australians.

“With a new Minister on the way, it is vital that organisations can engage on behalf of their stakeholders, but these cuts will make that impossible.”

The Department has been approached for comment.

New Horizons Program 378

This week on program 378 of New Horizons, Rikki Chaplin speaks with Greg Madson, President of Blind Citizens Australia, who looks back on achievements during 2014.

You can use the embedded audio player above to listen or download the program.

New Horizons is now available as a podcast! Using your pod catcher of choice, use the search term “Blind Citizens Australia”, you should then be able to subscribe to the New Horizons program.

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

Current and past Episodes of New Horizons can also be found on the Blind Citizens Australia audio page

And on the The Global Voice

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 Vision Australia website

BCA Festive Season Office Close

Please note:

The Melbourne head office of Blind Citizens Australia will be closed for the festive break from Wednesday 17 December, returning 5 January 2015.

The Board and employees of Blind Citizens Australia wish all a safe and enjoyable festive break.