Welcome To Blind Citizens Australia

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) is the united voice of Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

Our mission is to achieve equity and equality by our empowerment, by promoting positive community attitudes, and by striving for high quality and accessible services which meet our needs.

Whether you are blind, have a vision impairment , a family member or friend of a person who is blind or vision impaired, BCA is here to assist you.

We provide information, peer support, individual and systemic advocacy, and consultancy services. Our Branches act as local lobby groups and provide opportunities for social interaction for members.

Explore our site. Learn about us. Listen to SoundAbout for profiles of people who are blind or vision impaired and those working with our community. If you are interested in audio-described TV, cinema and DVD content check out It’s Our Turn. Set your dial and tune in to our weekly radio program New Horizons. For the issues and policies that affect you, plus useful information and tips, turn to the pages of BC News or Parent News.

Contact BCA:

Toll Free:
1800 033 660

Phone:
03 9654 1400

Text:
0488 824 623

Email: Blind Citizens Australia

Donate to Blind Citizens Australia

New Horizons Podcast

New Horizons is Blind Citizens Australia’s weekly radio show. It is an interview style, with topics relevant to people who are blind or vision impaired. It runs for about 15 minutes, in MP3 format. To listen, you can use the audio player below.

From January 2018, New Horizons and other BCA audio files are available from a new podcast feed ! You can subscribe to the Blind Citizens Australia podcast feed by pointing your Pod-Catcher to: http://blindcitizens.podbean.com/feed

To visit the Blind Citizens Australia podbean page, go to: http://blindcitizens.podbean.com

2019 Annual General Meeting

Event Details

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) will hold its 44th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday 30th November in Sydney, at the office of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, 2-4 Thomas St, Chatswood at 11:00AM. Anyone who is unable to attend in person will be able to listen to the proceedings via a live stream available on this page.

The AGM will be followed by lunch and a fun activity for those who can attend in person.

The Agenda for the AGM includes presentation and discussion of the Annual Review and the Directors’ Report and Financial Statements; as well as the announcement of the election of Directors, National Policy Council (NPC) Representatives and Members of the NSW/ACT State Division Committee. There are no items of Special Business for consideration at this year’s AGM. 

All Full Members are entitled to one vote each in relation to any resolution put to the AGM. If Full Members are unable to attend this meeting in person, they may appoint the Chairperson, or another Full Member as a Proxy. Information about proxy voting is available by contacting BCA, and a proxy form can be downloaded here.   

It is important to note that no election will take place at the AGM. Telephone and SMS voting will again be available for this year’s elections. All eligible members of BCA will have the opportunity to vote via telephone or SMS should elections be necessary.

Elections

Call for Nominations for Directors

This year, there are two vacancies for Directors of BCA, each for a three-year term: 

  • Rocco Cutri has filled a casual vacancy on the Board and is eligible for re-election this year
  • Daniel Stubbs has advised the Board of his resignation due to a change in his employment situation

Call for Nominations for National Policy Council Representatives

There are vacant positions for “NPC Representatives” in Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. The term of office for an NPC Representative is two years. NPC members whose terms of office conclude this year are David Morrell (Tasmania), Steve Richardson (Queensland) and David Squirrell (South Australia). All are eligible for re-election.  Martin Stewart served as NPC Representative for Victoria but resigned recently following his appointment as BCA’s National Advocacy Officer. In order to nominate for a position on the NPC, members must reside in the state or territory they are nominating to represent.

Call for Nominations for NSW/ACT State Division Committee

The NSW/ACT State Division Committee comprises six representatives from NSW and one representative from the ACT. All seven positions are up for election and all members of the current committee are eligible for re-election. The current committee consists of Joana d’Orey Novo, Graeme Innes, Stephen Belbin, Marie Shang, Bill McKennariey and Susan Thompson.

The ACT representative was the late Justin Simpson.

To be eligible for election, members must reside within NSW or the ACT.

How to Nominate

Potential nominees for all positions must be Full Members of BCA as at 30 June, 2019 and are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the relevant Position Description and the BCA Code of Conduct (below).

The ballot for Directors will be determined first; followed by NPC positions; and finally, State Division Committee membership.

Eligible members wishing to nominate are required to complete a nomination form, which can be used to nominate for more than one position. Valid nomination forms must include the names of the nominee, a nominator and seconder, all of whom must have been Full Members of BCA as at 30 June 2019. Please note that BCA is strongly committed to ensuring the nomination process is fully accessible to our members; as such, signatures are not required. The Company Secretary, Emma Bennison, will take all necessary steps to verify the validity of nominations.

All nominations should be accompanied by a written statement of no more than 300 words in support of the nomination, by, or on behalf of the nominee. Nomination forms and nominee statements should be submitted in Microsoft Word or text format. Please contact Emma Bennison, Company Secretary on 0410 553 383, if you need to submit your nomination in another format.

Nominations and accompanying statements must reach Emma Bennison, Company Secretary, at companysecretary@bca.org.au by 5:00PM Melbourne time on Monday, 21 October, 2019.

Telephone Voting Process

Only Full Members of Blind Citizens Australia as at 30 June 2019 may cast a telephone or SMS vote.

Election of Directors

  • If there are no more than two valid nominations for election as a Director at the close of the nomination period, the members nominated will be declared elected and there will not be a ballot.
  • If there are more than two nominees for election as Director at the close of the nomination period, a ballot will be held. At the close of the poll, the two nominees with the highest number of valid votes received will be declared elected for a three-year term.

Election of NPC Representatives

  • If there is only one valid nominee for election as the “State Representative” for a State or Territory at the close of the nomination period, that member will be declared elected and there will not be a ballot in that State.
  • If there are two or more nominees for election as the “State Representative” for a State or Territory at the close of the nomination period, a ballot will be held among members resident in that State.  At the close of the poll, the nominee with the highest number of valid votes received will be declared elected.

Election of NSW/ACT State Division Committee Members

  • If there are no more than six valid nominees for election from NSW at the close of the nomination period, those members will be declared elected to the NSW/ACT State Division Committee and there will not be a ballot in New South Wales.
  • If seven or more nominations are received form members from NSW, a ballot will be held among members in NSW and the six members with the highest number of valid votes will be declared elected.
  • If only one nomination is received for the ACT members’ position on the NSW/ACT State Division Committee at the close of the nomination period, that member will be declared elected and there will not be a ballot in the ACT.
  • If there are two or more nominees for election as the ACT member on the Committee, at the close of nominations, a ballot will be held among members resident in the ACT.  At the close of the poll, the nominee with the highest number of valid votes will be declared elected.

If a ballot is required for any position, instructions on casting a telephone or SMS vote, along with the details of all nominees and their supporting statements, will be mailed to all eligible Full Members by Wednesday, 6 November, 2019. Voting will open on Monday, 11 November and will close at 5:00PM Melbourne time on Monday, 25 November, 2019. Any votes received after this time will not be counted.

The Company Secretary will declare the results of all polls at the AGM on 30th November, 2019.

Whether you are nominating and voting or not, we do hope you can join us at this year’s Annual General Meeting. If you require any of the documents listed in an alternative format, please contact BCA as soon as possible.

Media Release: NDIS Correspondence is Now Accessible to People who are Blind or Vision Impaired

Thanks to strong advocacy by Blind Citizens Australia, its members and partner organisations, participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme will now receive correspondence in their preferred format.

The NDIA will progressively introduce changes over the next few months which will allow participants to choose their preferred communication format and update their preferences via an NDIA representative, the National contact centre, or on the Participant Portal. Large font, audio, e-text and braille formats will be available.  

The NDIA expect to move to automated requests for correspondence in alternative formats by the end of August 2019.  Requested documents will be sent directly to an external accessible format provider who will prepare the accessible version and despatch directly to the NDIS Participant to reduce delays.

Up to now requests for alternative formats have been managed by NDIA planners via a manual process and participants often report delays and difficulty in getting correspondence in their chosen format.  Print copy plans and letters are currently generated automatically and staff must intervene manually where needed to support a participant’s preference. This has resulted in an inconsistent approach long delay before a participant receives the alternative format.

“This is a tremendously important step forward for people who are blind or vision impaired. Blindness is often referred to as an information-based disability. Access to information is often the only thing that prevents a person who is blind or vision impaired from carrying out tasks and activities that they otherwise could,” said Rikki Chaplin, Acting CEO Blind Citizens Australia.

“To be able to easily read your NDIS plan is vital if you’re going to be able to take full advantage of the supports in your plan. I congratulate the NDIA on ensuring that people who are blind or vision impaired will have reliable and consistent access to their plans in the format which is right for them.”

The NDIA has committed to continuous improvement and will seek feedback by engaging with peak bodies such as BCA and with the Participant Reference Group.

Read the full media release here (Word version)

Please let us know if you’d like this information in another format for accessibility.