Australian governments and web accessibility

The Commonwealth and all State and Territory Governments committed to increasing the accessibility of government websites and websites which distribute government information.

The council of Commonwealth, State, and Territory communications ministers adopted the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 in a November 2009 Online and Communications Council communiqué.  Building on this agreement, the National Transition Strategy (NTS), launched in June 2010, sets the path for all Australian government websites to reach Level A WCAG 2.0 compliance by 2012.  The Commonwealth and some States have committed to complying with Level AA by 2014.

National Transition Strategy

The NTS requires that all online government information be WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant, whether an internet, intranet, or extranet site.  This applies to any domain owned or operated by a government.

The following websites must conform to the WCAG 2.0 requirements:

  • websites either fully or partly owned and/or operated by a government agency
  • websites registered on a domain name, sub-domain, or sub-directory
  • websites which have a distinct look and feel (design), audience, and purpose
  • websites funded by government to disseminate government information.

Content produced from July 2010 onwards, or before July 2010 which is still current, must be compliant.  Furthermore, if two or more agencies are involved in a website which have differing minimum requirements, the higher level of compliance applies.

A range of supporting guidelines and instructions are available from the Australian Government Accessibility Web Guide.  Agencies are instructed to conform to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Disability Discrimination Act Web Advisory Notes to minimise the potential for complaint under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth).

Agencies will be required to conduct their own assessment and review of their websites and form their own implementation strategies with advice and guidance from the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), a division of the Department of Finance and Deregulation coordinating the NTS. 

Commonwealth Government agencies will be required to report to AGIMO, whilst State and Territory Government agencies will deal with jurisdictional representative agencies.

Further comments

Jurisdiction Level A deadline Further commitments
Commonwealth End of 2012 Level AA by end of 2014
Australian Capital
Territory
End of 2012  
New South Wales End of 2012  
Northern Territory End of 2012  
Queensland End of 2010 Level AA for all Guidelines bar 1.2 by end of 2010
South Australia End of 2012 sa.gov.au is AA compliant.
Tasmania End of 2012 Agencies should aim to meet level AA compliance
Victoria End of 2012  
Western Australia July 2010 Level AA is recommended

 


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