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Wednesday, 14 August 2013 14:35

Labor to support new disability laws Featured

Senator Kate Lundy Senator Kate Lundy CeBIT

Labor would support new laws that ensure more disabled people can access websites and digital content, according to Senator Kate Lundy.

There are approximately four million Australians with a disability, but many find it difficult to navigate a world of constantly changing apps and devices, which often have different interfaces and features.

ACCAN, Australia's communications consumer watchdog, wants to fix it.

The proposed law was reportedly modelled after the US’s 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and was proposed by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) this morning at the M-Enabling Australasia conference in Sydney.

“If we require legislation to give effect to the accessibility principles ... then yes we would do it,” said Lundy, Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy.

“It would be my pleasure to work with ACCAN to look at that legislation.”

The move comes after ACCAN, along with a host of other stakeholders and disability groups, moved to have CAPTCHA banned, calling it "frustrating" and urging websites to "kill CAPTCHA."

It also follows pressure on the ABC to make its apps more friendly for people with visual disabilities, which it has agreed to do. 

The Minister told the conference this morning that "some of the people who potentially benefit most from mobile technologies are the ones who currently use it least.”

ACCAN CEO Tersa Corbin elaborated, explaining the legislation would require all TV programming streamed online or on digital video-on-demand services like iTunes to include captions for the hearing impaired.

The legislation would also require VoIP services to be accessible to people of all abilities, provide access to telecom equipment for deafblind Australians and guarantee that broadcasters’ emergency messages are accessible with AUSLAN interpreters and captioning.

More news from the M-Enabling Australasia conference to follow.


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