Australia adopts accessible ICT procurement standards

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Thursday, 25 August 2016 11:42am

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Standards Australia, and ACCAN have jointly announced that Australia will be the first country outside Europe to adopt the European standard for the procurement of accessible ICT. It will be known in Australia as Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services.

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The Australian Human Rights Commission reported recently that people with a disability are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed and half as likely to have a full time job as Australians without a disability. A crucial part of correcting this imbalance is ensuring that people with a disability have the workplace tools and technology they need.

As a result of this new announcement, Australia becomes the first country outside Europe to adopt this emerging internationally aligned standard for ICT accessibility in procurement (EN 301 549). It is the first step in the standard eventually being embedded in public procurement requirements, improving outcomes for public sector workers who have a disability.

The new accessible ITC standardalso provides a benchmark for private sector organisations wanting to be sure the technology products and services that they buy are usable by people with a disability.

An excellent resource for understanding more about how the standard can be applied is the online Accessible ICT Procurement Toolkit, which provides a lot of useful, easy to navigate information. No implementation date was given by the office of the Finance Minister in the official news release of this Government announcement.

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