BCA Connect on Policy
Saturday, 23rd September from 10:00am to 3:30pm AEST.
Location: Via Zoom – A Zoom link will be provided to you once you have registered
BCA has a long and proud history of producing public policy documents and position statements that articulate various issues experienced by people who are blind or vision impaired, and solutions or recommendations to these issues. This work is led by BCA’s National Policy Council (NPC), a group of dedicated members, elected to the NPC by their peers, who volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that BCA produces documents that are relevant to, and align with the views of people who are blind or vision impaired.
The NPC is currently working across a variety of topics, including Emergency Preparedness and Health. BCA Connect on Policy will be a chance to showcase this work, discuss important policy matters, and introduce you to the members of the NPC.
In addition to this, we will also be announcing the recipients of this year’s David Blyth Award and the BCA Certificates of Appreciation.
It’s also not too late to submit your ideas for the Tell Us What You Think session. If there is a piece of work you think BCA should focus its attention on, you can send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. During the program, we will discuss these ideas and everyone will have the chance to share their thoughts and vote on what they think BCA should act on. You can find out more by calling 1800 033 660.
Registrations will remain open until Friday, 22nd September 2023.
BCA Connect on Policy Program
9:45am – Virtual Conference Room Opens
10:00am – Acknowledgement of Country
Stephen Belbin, Vice-President and Branch Liaison Officer
10:05am – Opening address
Prue Watt OAM, Director and Chair National Policy Council
10:15am – Policy and Advocacy Hub Launch
Presented by: Jackson Reynolds-Ryan, Manager Policy and Advocacy and Amila Dedovic, Communications Coordinator
Throughout 2023, the Policy and Advocacy Team, working closely with BCA’s Communications Coordinator and the National Policy Council, has worked to update and revitalise our policy and advocacy resources. The launch of BCA’s new ‘Policy and Advocacy Hub’ is the culmination of this work, allowing members and other interested stakeholders to locate quickly and easily our most up-to-date Policy Reports and Position Papers, keep track of our ongoing campaigns, and access advocacy information.
In this session, Amila and Jack will be stepping through the new sections of the website and explaining some of the key changes.
10:45am – Risk reduction, resilience and response: preparing for emergency events as a person who is blind or vision impaired
Presented by: Corey Crawford, National Policy Officer
Millions of Australians have been affected by natural disasters in recent years, even as daily life has been significantly altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help prepare members for future natural disasters and public health emergencies, BCA is releasing this Policy Report.
This Report provides information for people who are blind or vision impaired on how emergency events can impact them. The Report’s associated checklist empowers
people who are blind or vision impaired by helping them to identify and procure the essential items they may require during a natural disaster.
11:45am – 45-minute lunch break
12:30pm – Meet the NPC
Presented by: Prue Watt OAM, Director and Chair National Policy Council
Would you like to discover more about the work of BCA’s National Policy Council (NPC)? During this session, we will explore the important role of the NPC, get to know its members and learn more about what goes into developing policy. We will also discuss the various ways you may wish to use or engage with BCA’s policies or position statements to leverage change and promote the rights of people who are blind or vision impaired.
1:00pm – Accessibility at the ballot box: ensuring a secret, independent and verifiable voting process for people who are blind or vision impaired
Presented by: Jackson Reynolds-Ryan, Manager Policy and Advocacy
The principle of equal participation in the political process is a fundamental tenet of democracy and includes the right of citizens to cast a secret vote in government elections. Yet many of our electoral processes mean that people who are blind or vision impaired are dependent on others to assist, trusting that their ballot paper is completed accurately according to their wishes.
This Policy Report charts the development of accessible voting measures across different Australian jurisdictions, and the current policy landscape. It explores different types of voting systems in use in Australia and internationally, and outlines the obstacles to achieving change, and some possible solutions.
2:00pm – 15-minute break
2:15pm – Awards Ceremony
Presented by: Fiona Woods, President
Every second year, BCA presents the David Blyth Award and the BCA Certificate of Appreciation.
The David Blyth Award is named after BCA’s founder, Mr David Blyth AO. The award recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired.
Certificates of Appreciation are awarded to BCA members who have made a significant contribution to the work of the organisation. Recipients are volunteers and contribute to BCA’s work in various ways, including with our communications, supporting peers, assisting in systemic advocacy issues, and general operation of the organisation.
2:45pm – Tell Us What You Think
Presented by: Sally Karandrews, Chief Executive Officer
We have been collecting ideas from members on actions and activities that they would like to see BCA undertake in the coming months. During this session, we will share those ideas and members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and vote on whether they would like to see BCA proceed with the various suggestions.
3:25pm – Closing remarks
Prue Watt OAM, Director and Chair National Policy Council