Australian policy and legislation

New funding cap of National Relay Service leads to fears of reduced services

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While the Government’s recent recommitment to support the National Relay Service (NRS) is welcomed, there are fears that services will have to be cut. This is because the Government will have NRS funding capped at the 2012 level of $20 million (ex GST) per year, rather than a user-need model, and this will lead to less people being able to access and use this service.

Image of National Relay Service logo

National Relay Service logo


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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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Australia adopts accessible ICT procurement standards

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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.

Image of fingers on computer keyboard

Fingers on a computer keyboard

Digital media and technology: 

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Crossing the digital divide

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A recent discussion paper states that 1 million Australians with a disability don’t have internet access at home, because of cost, complexity and/or connectivity issues. This is well below the national average, yet an expert in web accessibility, Dr Scott Hollier, maintains that with the right technology, those with an impairment or disability can access information on the net, quickly and easily.

No access sign


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Transcript of The Wire's interview with Dr Scott Hollier on 'Crossing the digital divide'

The Wire

Access to the internet is something most of us now take for granted and couldn’t imagine living without, but for one million Aussies with a disability that’s exactly what they have to do.  For many, they think it will cost too much, especially to buy the kind of software they need to help them use it, for others, it’s just all too hard.  Laura Corrigan reports.

Laura: Dr Scott Hollier is director of Digital Accessibility for advocacy group Media Access Australia.


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Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility promotional video out now

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A new video produced by Media Access Australia has been created to promote the upcoming Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility (PCWA). It’s designed to underline the main points and key benefits of enrolling in Australia’s only university-accredited web accessibility certificate for digital professionals.

Five students accessing technology via a laptop and a tablet computer.

The PCWA course highlights video runs for one minute and thirty seconds. In addition to the standard video, an audio described version of this video is also available.


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The most popular accessibility stories of 2015

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As the year comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the most popular articles and events regarding consumer accessibility across the web, digital technology, education, TV, video, cinema, arts, policy and research in 2015.


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Feedback on captioning regulation wanted

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The lead-up to the end of the year has seen a little burst of consultation around captioning issues. The Federal Department of Communications and the Arts has released a policy consultation paper on the Captioning Regulatory Framework.

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