There is currently no legislation requiring audio description on Australian media. However, one of the recommendations of the Federal Government's Media Access Review final report, released in December 2010, was that there be a technical trial of audio description on the ABC.
The trial, which took place on ABC1, commenced on 5 August 2012, and continued for 13 weeks. During that time, an average of 2 hours of audio described programming was broadcast each evening.
In a media release issued after the trial ended on 5 November 2012, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said, "It’s clear that audio description is a service that is strongly desired by the vision-impaired community, and the trial was embraced with real enthusiasm by participants. I share that enthusiasm for what new digital technologies can provide to enable improved access to television and other electronic media for people with a disability."
The ABC is preparing a report on technical issues raised by the trial, which it will deliver to the Federal Government by the end of 2012. The report, and technical advice from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), will inform the Government in developing a policy for introducing a regular audio description service on Australian television.
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