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

New Horizons program 382

This week on program 382 of New Horizons, Sue Hastie speaks with Greg Madson, President of Blind Citizens Australia, and Rikki Chaplin speaks with John Simpson, acting Executive Officer.

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

Changes to Disability Support Pension legislation for travel outside Australia

From 1 January 2015 DSP customers can be paid outside Australia for a temporary absence of, or number of absences totalling 4 weeks (28 days) in a rolling 12 month period. They can also travel outside Australia and be paid under the approved reason portability provisions, up to a maximum of 4 weeks.

  • Days paid DSP while outside Australia are included in the 4 weeks, regardless of the reason for absence.
  • Days paid DSP outside Australia before 1 January 2015 are not included in the 4 weeks.
  • Prior to 1 January 2015 DSP customers could be paid for a temporary absence of 6 weeks.

A transitional provision allows customers who booked and paid before 14 May 2014 for travel outside Australia commencing on or after 1 January 2015 and returning before 1 January 2016 to be paid under the pre 1 January 2015 DSP portability provisions.

International Agreement specific rules:

  • Days paid while outside Australia but in the agreement country, are not counted while paid under that respective agreement country
  • Days paid while outside Australia and the agreement country, are counted in the 4 weeks

New Horizons program 381

This week on program 381 of New Horizons, Rikki Chaplin speaks with Laurie Grovenor about the challenges for people who are blind or vision impaired living in regional and rural areas, and with Karen Passmore, President of the National Women’s Branch of Blind Citizens Australia, about their project for regional and rural women.

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

PRESS STATEMENT from Ms Maryanne Diamond, AO and Mr Colin Allen

PRESS STATEMENT

from Ms Maryanne Diamond, AO and Mr Colin Allen

9 January 2015

This Press Statement is available in Auslan at You Tube Clip

Funding Cuts will lead to one of
Australia’s most Vulnerable Groups being Further Disadvantaged.

Just days before Christmas a number of peak organisations of persons with disabilities were advised by the Department of Social Services that their funding will be discontinued.

The department has decided to fund 6 organisations instead of the previous 13 which had been funded for many years, providing valuable advice to government and support to their membership.

This is happening at a time where it has been recognised worldwide that disability is viewed within a human rights framework. This means that people with disabilities speak on their own behalf and make their own decisions. Australia has indicated its commitment to this framework through ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Funding has been preserved for organisations representing various population groups such as women, children, CALD communities and Indigenous groups, all of which play a very important role. However, the organisations representing the specific disability groups such as blindness, deafness and intellectual disability, have had their funding terminated. Peak organisations representing specific disability groups have extensive knowledge in addressing the needs that cannot be covered by organisations representing various population groups. These organisations have significant concerns as to how well broad-based organisations will be able to address the needs of specific disability groups.

Maryanne Diamond, AO, immediate past president of the World Blind Union (WBU) and Chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), and Colin Allen, President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and First Vice Chair of the IDA, expressed serious concerns about the potential impacts of this decision.

“The membership of IDA is made up of the leaders of global and regional disability organisations.” said Ms Diamond. “The groups representing each specific disability were the founding members of IDA, and played an important role working together in the development and adoption of the UNCRPD. They bring huge experience and expertise to the table which is essential for all our decision making as the global body of persons with disabilities.”

Mr Allen also emphasised the importance of specific disability expertise in shaping policy: “Without the insistence and persistence of the WFD and the WBU, and their members, neither sign language, which is the primary language of deaf and deafblind persons, nor Braille, which is a critical access measure for people who are blind, would have been as prominent in the UNCRPD.”

As past leaders of both Deaf Australia and Blind Citizens Australia, Mr Allen and Ms Diamond urge the Australian government to reconsider this decision and find a way to continue funding to these peak organisations. The voices of these organisations are critical for the development of government policy and service provision to some of Australia’s most vulnerable groups.

Media Contact:
Maryanne Diamond: 0419 312 129
Colin Allen: 0458 125 587 (Text Only)