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

(03) 9654 1400

Email: Blind Citizens Australia

Donate to Blind Citizens Australia

Feedback needed for response to the McClure Welfare Review Report

We need your feedback:

Blind Citizens Australia is currently in the midst of preparing its response to the McClure Welfare Review Report, which seems to make the assumption that the current income support arrangements for people with a disability serve as a dicincentive to look for work.

We know that this view fails to recognise the full range of barriers that exist for people who are blind or vision impaired who are seeking to enter the workforce and want to hear about your own job-seeking experiences.

Have you been proactive in looking for work, but to no avail?

Please contact us and let us know by sending an email to lauren.henley@bca.org.au with “employment” in the subject line.

Lauren Henley
National Policy Officer
Blind Citizens Australia
Phone: (03) 9654 1400
Freecall: 1800 033 660
Mobile: 0437 355 985
ABN: 90 006 985 22

WBUAP General Assembly 2014 Deadline Extended to 17 August

From the WBUAP General Assembly 2014 committee

Dear Friends

We have received requests from youth of the region who are unable to meet the deadline, but remain very keen to participate in the Forum. In view of this, the Organizing Committee has decided to extend the deadline from 31 July 2014 to 17 August 2014 (24:00 , GMT+8).

This is a great opportunity for youngsters with visual impairment in the Asia Pacific region to get sponsorship to attend the Youth Forum and the General Assembly. They can exchange opinions and share their innovative ideas and dreams with their peers. It also serves as a platform to link up the projects with the resources required as potential funders will be invited to attend the event.

Please find the proposal guidelines and entry form

Detailed information is available on the official website at http://www.wbuapga2014.org

For enquiries; please contact Miss Ashley Wong at youth@wbuapga2014.org for further details.

Yours sincerely

Chong Chan-yau
Organizing Committee

New Horizons program 357

This week on program 357 of New Horizons, Rikki Chaplin speaks with Michael Jessup of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and with Alex Varley of Media Access Australia, regarding the campaign for audio description on television.

The direct link to listen is Listen to Program 357 and to download is Download Program 357

New Horizons is Blind Citizens Australias 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

World’s first braille mobile phone launches in Australia

Press Release
Thursday 24 July 2014
World’s first braille mobile phone launches in Australia

A suitable mobile phone for people who are blind is now available, with OwnFone launching the world’s first braille mobile phone in Australia today.

“OwnFone is proud to bring the world’s first commercially available braille phone to Australia,” said Brad Scoble, Director of OwnFone Australia.

“There are currently 35,000 people in Australia who are blind. Touchscreen technology is problematic for those Australians. OwnFone UK, in consultation with the blind and low vision community, developed a simple mobile phone without a touchscreen and one that users can personalise with braille buttons.

“The braille buttons are produced using 3D printing and customised for every customer, which makes OwnFone’s braille phone a world-first.”

Tom Sunderland, the UK-based inventor of OwnFone, said, “Incredibly, OwnFone is the first in the world to sell a braille phone which is personalised for every user. In the past, the cost of developing a braille phone versus the market size has been a barrier to entry. 3D printing provides a fast and affordable way to overcome this barrier.”

Users in Australia can design their personalised braille phone on the OwnFone Australia website – www.ownfone.com.au. They will need to provide up to three contact names, which will automatically be converted into braille. These names are then printed on the front of the phone in braille.

Brad said, “OwnFone meets the need for a basic mobile phone to keep in touch. Smartphones are often too complicated, and in the case of people who are blind, not user-friendly.

“OwnFone’s braille phone is very easy to design and easy to use. There is simple one button dialling, and the braille buttons are pre-programmed to call people of the user’s choice, such as family, friends or carers.

“Users can only make and receive phone calls, and Triple Zero (000) is always included as an option, in case of an emergency.”

The braille version of OwnFone adds to OwnFone Australia’s existing range of easy-to-use mobile phones for children and seniors.

Brad said, “The braille phone complements our existing and popular OwnFone for kids and seniors. The only difference is in the design of the phone. Kids and seniors have the option of words or images as buttons, whereas people who are blind have braille.”

To purchase an OwnFone in braille, visit the OwnFone Australia website (www.ownfone.com.au) and select to make a phone for ‘kids’ or ‘seniors’. Prices start at $89 and call plans start at $2.35 a week.

Images: https://kids.ownfone.com.au/about-ownfone/media

Media contacts:
Bernadette Smon: 02 8011 3597; media@ownfone.com.au
Brad Scoble: 0421 629 245; support@ownfone.com.au


About OwnFone:
OwnFone first successfully launched in the UK in 2012 with the aim of creating simple mobile solutions for consumers at every stage of life. Ownfone Limited owns the patented technology behind the OwnFone, which is manufactured using the ‘Seed’, a blank mobile device that can be customised for a range of sectors and purposes. OwnFone’s braille phone launched in the UK in May 2014, patent pending.

Tom Sunderland is the UK-based inventor of the OwnFone. He studied Product Design at Central Saint Martins and Design Products at the Royal College of Art (RCA). For his final project at the RCA, Tom set out to design the world’s simplest mobile phone. His solution was to develop a customisable mobile platform and let people design their own mobile phone with a personalised keypad that calls the people they need.

Brad Scoble is the Director of OwnFone Australia & New Zealand. He comes from a strong telecommunications background following a longstanding career with Optus. Brad launched OwnFone in Australia in April 2014.