Australian policy and legislation

Government to 'immediately' move to improve access to media

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Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy, today released the ‘Investigation into access to electronic media for the hearing and vision impaired: Media access review final report’, and promised that the Commonwealth Government will “move to immediately implement the Report’s recommendations”.

The Media Access Review began under the Howard Government, and encompassed issues surrounding captioning, audio description, cinema and DVD accessibility, and emergency notification. The ‘Media access review final report’ proposed many positive recommendations, including:


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Australian Human Rights Commission rejects subscription TV caption exemption application

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The Australian Human Rights Commission (the AHRC) has refused an application for exemption under section 55 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA) by the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA).

ASTRA, whose members include FOXTEL and AUSTAR, earlier this year sought a five-year temporary exemption from the DDA, meaning that the AHRC would not hear complaints against the members of ASTRA on the grounds of disability discrimination. In exchange for the exemption, ASTRA had offered to raise the level of captioning on 65 of the 91 channels operated by its members.

The AHRC has previously granted such temporary exemptions to subscription television broadcasters.


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Senator Ludlum asks the ABC and SBS about access in Senate Estimates

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In Senate Budget Estimates Hearings on Monday, Greens Senator Scott Ludlum asked the ABC and SBS questions about funding access.  Senator Ludlum posed the questions in a Senate Environment, Communications, and the Arts Legislation Committee Estimates Hearing.

Senator Ludlum asked ABC Managing Direct Mark Scott about its intentions to run a trial of audio description (AD) on its television services.  A trial of AD had been raised in the Access to electronic media for the hearing and vision impaired: approaches for consideration, Discussion Report, 2009, which Senator Ludlum quoted.  Mr Scott s


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Human Rights Commission releases submissions to the subscription television exemption application

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The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has released submissions to the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association’s (ASTRA) application on minimum captioning requirements. The application, if accepted, would make ASTRA exempt from complaints under section 55 of the Disability Discrimination Act (Cth) (DDA) in exchange for undertaking to increase the level of captioning on subscription television.

The AHRC has released submissions from Media Access Australia, the Deafness Council of Western Australia (DCWA), Vision Australia, the Deafness Forum of Australia, the Disability Discrimination Legal Service (Victoria) (DDLS), Deaf Australia and Accessible Arts NSW.  To read the submission, go to the AHRC website.

To read summaries of these submissions, visit our enquiries and consultations section.


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