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

PTV ScreenReader App

Key improvements we are making to our mobile apps to ensure they meet the accessibility requirements of an important customer group within our community.

We recently launched a new mobile app available on both iOS and Android. Following the successful release of the app to market, we discontinued support and access to all previous versions of our apps.

Following the app’s removal, one of our vision-impaired customers informed me directly that the new PTV apps did not offer the same level of accessibility as the discontinued ‘PTV Original’ app.

This discussion identified to me that PTV needed to better focus on incorporating accessibility into our business processes. It has taught us a really important lesson around appropriate testing related to our ongoing development and release of customer information.

As a result, we have now restored our PTV Original app for iOS, to enable the accessibility of public transport information for our vision-impaired customers. We re-named this app ‘PTV ScreenReader’ and it is the same version of the app being used before it was removed.

Our app development team is currently working with members of the accessibility community to ensure the existing apps support screen reading capability and enhance accessibility for all of our customers; which we aim to have done by early 2015. We are confident these will be the most accessible apps we have released to date.

In the interim, ‘PTV ScreenReader’ will be available from the Apple iTunes store until the accessible versions of the PTV app in both iOS and Android are ready to download.

Though this issue was raised through a negative experience by some customers, PTV has used it to take appropriate steps to ensure that it will not happen again.

I would like to apologise on behalf of PTV for this oversight and wish to reassure you that we are actively working across the business on ensuring that we better cater for our customers that have accessibility requirements.

PTV is committed to creating a public transport system that is accessible for all Victorians, as detailed in our Accessible Public Transport in Victoria Action Plan 2013-2017: PTV Implementation Plan. As part of this, the PTV website will be compliant to the WCAG2.0 AA standard by 31 December 2014, and we are working with our transport operators to ensure more announcements at stations and on trains, trams and buses.

Significant accessibility improvements are occurring across the network. This includes major station redevelopments at Springvale, Mitcham and Footscray, raised tram and train boarding platforms, the installation of tactile ground surface indicators across the network, an increase in accessible car parking spaces and improvements to toilets.

I welcome any feedback you or your members may have in regards to this and request that you extend this information to your networks.

Sincerely,

Mark Wild
Chief Executive Officer
Public Transport Victoria

Mark Wild
Chief Executive Officer

Level 10, 750 Collins Street
Docklands Victoria 3008 Australia
PO Box 4724 Melbourne Victoria 3001

Telephone +61 3 9027 4127
Mobile: +61 407 502 357
Email mark.wild@ptv.vic.gov.au

For more information visit www.ptv.vic.gov.au
or call 1800 800 007 (6am – midnigh

New Horizons program 377

This week on program 377 of New Horizons, Rikki Chaplin speaks with Tony Starkey, an Australian Blindness Forum representative at the World Blind Union Asia Pacific Mid-Term Regional General Assembly.

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

Blind Citizens Australia Appoints Acting Administrator

Following the resignation of its Executive Officer last week, the board of Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) has appointed John Simpson as Acting Administrator. John will work in a voluntary capacity to support the operations of BCA whilst the board recruits a new Executive Officer.

The board is strongly committed to ensuring that members and staff are well supported during this time. As a former Director and Executive Officer of the organisation, John is well-placed to take on this role. The board thanks John for his generous support of BCA during this transition.

Thank you

Greg Madson
President
Blind citizens Australia

Next steps for web accessibility in Australia announced

Source: Media Access Australia

Monday, 8 December 2014

The inclusion of accessibility in a digital design guide and a second NTS progress survey are just two of the next steps in Australian government web accessibility announced at the 2014 OZeWAI conference.

In the conference’s opening keynote address, Jacqui van Teulingen, Director Web Policy at the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) said that the government was “still on the journey” toward web accessibility and that web accessibility will continue to be required by default. Ms Teulingen also hinted that certain content in the future may not be published if it’s considered to be inaccessible.

It was also announced that an ongoing commitment to accessibility will be included in the soon-to-be-released Digital Design Guide, announced in the Coalition’s Policy for E-Government and the Digital Economy prior to winning the last federal election.

Under service standards to be included, websites must have an accessible design, and have the needs of users placed first with focus being placed on an ‘any device, any time’ requirement. Conformance to the Web Content Accessibility Guides (WCAG 2.0) will be considered a pre-requisite of achieving accessibility by default.

A ‘digital by default’ approach is expected to be enforced by the end of 2017, which under Coalition policy announced last year will require any government interaction that occurs more than 50,000 times a year to be able to be completed online.

The design guide will replace the soon-to-lapse National Transition Strategy which requires all government websites to achieve WCAG 2.0 AA compliance by the end of 2014. Government agencies are currently implementing accessibility changes ahead of the deadline, and from next week, agencies will be expected to report on whether they have achieved the mandatory requirements of the strategy.

It is expected that while complete conformance will not have been achieved, there will be significant improvement on results released at the end of December 2013 where only 26 percent of websites were reported to meet any level of WCAG 2.0.

GovCMS , which will be available to all levels of Government from February, is expected to assist in improvement and sustaining of accessibility for government for both new website development, as well as for existing websites that will migrate across to the new platform.

Accessibility guidelines are applicable to the 130 government agencies that have developed 1,300 websites, around 900 of which are public facing. Public facing government websites are used by almost nine million people in Australia each year.