By Fiona Woods

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The National Policy Council (NPC) has, as usual, been busy. As I discussed in my last report, we have been working on a policy which outlines what we expect from the agencies which provide services to people who are blind or vision impaired. By the time you are reading this, we will have prepared a background paper and a series of consultation questions.

Our consultation will be national. It will be accessible to all members, using a variety of consultation methods. It addresses a series of specific focus areas, to be covered by the resulting policy. We will be seeking input into these areas from actual and potential users of the relevant services, rather than airing individual grievances, which can be more effectively dealt with through other avenues.

Our aim is to arrive at a consensus of the majority of members. The policy will be sensitive to the diversity of blind and vision impaired individuals and to the agencies which serve us. We will be consulting you over the next two months in as many forms as possible. Hopefully you will be bombarded by invitations to contribute, but if you are not, or if you prefer to be proactive, you can contact us via phone (the BCA office can give contact information for each NPC member). You can use the BCA text messaging service to contact us, and you can email your thoughts to

We will also be holding a series of teleconferences, invitations to which will be publicised soon. What we want from our blindness service agencies is a large, important and fascinating question and we want input from as many of you, our members, as possible.

Whilst designing this paper and process, we have also been considering the issue of Mobility Parking permits. We are currently drafting a position statement, which will form part of our Pedestrian Safety Policy Suite. This will reflect BCA’s current view that people who are blind or vision impaired should be automatically eligible for such permits, if they choose to apply for them. Where possible, we will work for this criterion to be consistent in all states, which unfortunately is not the case now.

Elections will soon be held for several positions on the NPC. We will be looking for representatives from Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT.  I would like to thank those who have fulfilled these roles over the past two years for their commitment to establishing the NPC as a working and meaningful part of BCA. Position descriptions are available on the BCA website.  If you would like to discuss how the NPC works or anything related to BCA’s policy work, please get in touch with your State representative or a Board member.

We have recently been pleased to welcome Andrew Webster from the ACT. Other members include:

  • Myself, Helen Frerris and Lynne Davis, who represent the Board;
  • Steve Richardson, Queensland;
  • Jennifer Parry, New South Wales;
  • Martin Stewart, Victoria;
  • David Squirrel, South Australia;
  • Doug McGinn, Tasmania;
  • Greg Madson, Western Australia;
  • Julie Sutherland, who represents the National Women’s Branch.

We look forward to hearing and reading your opinions over the next few months.

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