Research & Policy news

ACMA releases review of captioning rules

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has just released the final report into its statutory review of captioning rules. While ACMA, as the independent statutory authority, does not recommend specific legislative amendments in the report it has just tendered, it has made three key findings.

Image of ACMA logo

ACMA logo

ACMA requested submissions from the public in June 2016, and the issues it looked at during the review included captioning rules for multichannels, the framework for granting captioning exemptions and target reductions to broadcasters, along with the complexity of rules for captioning on subscription television services.

The findings of ACMA’s report include:


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Major review of NDIS costs now underway

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In late January 2017 the Federal Government announced that the Productivity Commission is to conduct a study to review the costs of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which is due to be operational and available to around 500,000 people by 2019.

Image of  National Disability Insurance Scheme

Image of National Disability Insurance Scheme

The NDIS study will examine issues including the sustainability of scheme costs; jurisdictional capacity (including the complementary disability services provided by the States and Territories); cost pressures (including wages); and changes in the agreed escalation parameters.

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Website inaccessibility court cases on the rise

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In March 2016 ‘Colorado Bags n’ Baggage’ became the first retailer in the US to lose a litigation case because their website was inaccessible. Today, there are dozens of court cases that are either scheduled to be heard or that have already settled out of court, as a surge of legal cases bring web accessibility into the mainstream, with broader implications for Australia and around the world.

‘Sorry it’s the law’ within a red circle

'Sorry it's the law' within a red circle

The California State Court became the first in the US to rule that a retailer violated the country’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) due to a website not being accessible to individuals with vision-related disabilities.

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Submissions wanted for Government inquiry into hearing health and wellbeing

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The Australian Parliament’s House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport is going to be considering the social and economic impacts of hearing impairment and ear or balance disorder, and seeks submissions from the public. You can have your say by 23 December.

Image of Parliament House, Canberra

Image of Parliament House, Canberra

Following a referral on 2 November 2016 from the Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport, The Hon Sussan Ley MP, the Committee will inquire into and report on the Hearing Health and Wellbeing of Australia.


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Calls for a Technology Bill of Rights for People with Disabilities in the US

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The National Council on Disability (NCD) in the United States has made a call to establish a ‘Technology Bill of Rights for People with Disabilities’ as part of a series of recommendations to the US Federal Government for making technology more accessible to people with a sensory, cognitive, or mobility disability.

Image of original US Bill of Rights

Image of original US Bill of Rights

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New research aims to improve web content for those with a cognitive disability

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For years the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines have helped developers create a web experience that is more usable by people with disabilities. Now a research unit in the US is conducting a study to determine if simplifying text can further help comprehension for people with cognitive disabilities.

Logo of the IBM Watson supercomputer

Logo of the IBM Watson supercomputer

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New Zealand gives go-ahead for data-driven disability plan

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The New Zealand government is committed to developing a Disability Plan in order to ensure that government agencies have the necessary digitally-delivered data to make informed, evidence-based policy decisions on New Zealanders with a disability.

A sign with the word 'Planning' on it

Improving the availability of quality information about those with a disability or impairment in NZ will lead to better decision-making by government agencies, say both the Statistics Minister Craig Foss, and the Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner.

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European Union legislates for web accessibility

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The European Parliament has passed a law to improve the accessibility of information on government websites in European Union member countries. This will give millions of people enhanced access to vital information and services.

he draft law — which was approved by 593 votes to 40, with 13 abstentions — requires all European Union (EU) member countries to ensure that all websites managed by public sector bodies are fully accessible to elderly people and those with a disability.

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Free TV Australia requests an end to caption reporting requirements

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In a submission to the Department of Communications, Free TV Australia, the organisation which represents Australian free-to-air broadcasters, has requested that broadcasters no longer be required to report annually on compliance with caption quotas and caption quality standards.

In November 2013, the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, wrote to organisations within the communications sector asking for advice on where regulation could be streamlined or removed. The compliance reporting requirements that Free TV is objecting to were included in the Broadcasting Services Act as part of a package of amendments relating to captioning passed in June 2012.


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US regulator introduces new caption quality rules

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA voted unanimously on 20 February to approve new, comprehensive rules to ensure that closed captioning on TV is of the highest possible quality.

The new rules follow years of lobbying by Deaf and hearing impaired TV viewers and their advocates, including a July 2004 petition filed by several groups including Telecommunications for the Deaf “to establish additional enforcement mechanisms to better implement the captioning rules, and to establish captioning quality standards to ensure high quality and reliable closed captioning”. The petition resulted in 1,600 submissions to the FCC.


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