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




BCA 2015 National Convention

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) is the representative body for Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

This year’s theme is “Looking Forward Looking Back” Celebrating Blind Citizens Australia.

Event details
Date: Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 October 2015

Venue: Mercure Perth Hotel
10 Irwin Street, Perth WA 6000
Phone: 08 9326 7000
Email Mercure Perth
Mercure Perth website

Follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #BCACONV and on Twitter @au_BCA

Visit the BCA 2015 National Convention webpage for more information or for Registration and Payment details.

Appointment of Operations Manager for BCA

The Board of Blind Citizens Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Tony Iezzi, in a new position of Operations Manager for BCA.

Tony has a long standing involvement in the blindness sector and will bring with him vast knowledge and experience in operations management, alternative format production and project coordination.

Tony has been appointed for a 3 month period and will oversee the BCA office functions and activity whilst the Board of BCA continues its recruitment process for an Executive Officer.

Tony can be contacted by phone at the BCA office on 1800 033 660 or 03 9654 1400. Tony can also be contacted via email tony.iezzi@bca.org.au

Thank you.

Greg Madson
President

New Horizons program 388

This week on program 388 of New Horizons, Rikki Chaplin speaks with Dr David Squirrell, a new representative on the National Policy and Development Council of Blind Citizens Australia.

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

Vision Australia’s “Tell the Whole Story” Campaign

Vision Australia has launched a letter campaign, called “Tell the whole story”, to compel broadcasters and the Minister for Communications, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, to ‘tell the whole story’ by mandating the delivery of audio description on Australian television.

This campaign coincides with Vision Australia lodging a Disability Discrimination Act complaint against all commercial television stations in Australia, including Foxtel. The complaint argues that the stations must provide an audio description service for at least 14 hours of content per week. These complaints follow a recent survey of our clients in which 86 per cent of respondents felt that an audio description service was important to allow people who are blind or have low vision to access the full TV experience.

Add your voice to this campaign by writing to Minister Turnbull using the form on the link to the Vision Australia website below. You can add your personal experience of audio description to this letter, which will then be sent to the Minister on your behalf.

Audio Description: Tell the Whole Story Survey

Disability groups granted temporary funding reprieve

The Sydney Morning Herald
Date: March 1, 2015
Julia May

Federal government delays a 40 per cent funding cut to the disability sector amid allegations it was in breach of United Nations convention.

The federal government has made a partial backflip on its cuts to disability groups, granting a temporary reprieve to eight bodies whose funding was due to run out on Saturday.
Last month the Department of Social Services announced it would cut funding to the disability sector by 40 per cent and support an alliance of just five representative bodies. It left eight bodies representing 200,000 people with disabilities under threat and sparked allegations that the government was in breach of the United Nations convention on the rights of disabled people.

But on Thursday the eight organisations – including the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, Blind Citizens Australia, Brain Injury Australia and Inclusion Australia, representing people with an intellectual disability – were told they had secured “transition funding” of $450,000 until the end of June.

Assistant Social Services Minister Mitch Fifield said he decided to extend the groups’ funding and to “provide an additional payment to each of them to assist with a smooth transition”.
“I have also directed my department to explore other potential capacity-building projects and funding that may be suitable for organisations to apply for, such as NDIS preparedness activities,” he said.

The minister did not explain what prompted the change of heart, what “capacity-building” meant or how much extra funding would be available.
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations chief executive Matthew Wright welcomed the reprieve, saying the government had listened to the voice of people with disability. He said he had noticed a new willingness from the department to engage with the sector.
“That’s definitely a positive and a very recent development,” he said. “We’re looking forward to further negotiations on our long-term future.”

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who is leading a Senate inquiry into how the Department of Social Services awards funding, also applauded the funding extension but questioned the government’s plans beyond June. She said the new alliance model did not reflect the grassroots needs or views of people with disabilities and accusing the government of being “top-down in its approach: this is what we want, now do it”.

The funding cuts had attracted the ire of Ron McCallum, the former chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Disabled Persons, and former disability commissioner, Graeme Innes.