Latest edition of BC News now available

The July edition of Blind Citizens News is out now – view it online today.

In this edition we cover:

  • Inaccessible EFTPOS machines
  • Immigration advocacy
  • The World Blind Union Regional Assembly
  • Mental health and blindness
  • Domestic violence
  • The NDIS and My Aged Care
  • Travel tips
  • …and much more!

Call to action: Lets shake things up with the Royal Commission

 

Inaccessible EFTPOS machines and ATMs continue to be rolled out across Australia, compromising the dignity, independence and privacy of many people who are blind or vision impaired. You may be aware that a Royal Commission is currently underway to inquire into instances of misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry. This provides us with a unique opportunity to draw attention to this very important issue.

We are asking people to consider lodging a short submission with the Royal Commission every time they encounter an inaccessible EFTPOS machine or ATM that impacts on their ability to access financial services. The squeakiest wheel gets the most attention and by following this call to action, you will be helping to demonstrate how many people are being negatively impacted by the roll out of inaccessible touchscreen devices.

The terms of reference for the Royal Commission state:

“All Australians have the right to be treated honestly and fairly in their dealings with banking, superannuation and financial service providers. The highest standards of conduct are critical to the good governance and corporate culture of those providers.

And these standards should continue to be complemented by strong regulatory and supervisory frameworks that ensure that all Australian consumers, including business, have confidence and trust in the financial system.”

Clauses B and F of the terms of reference hold the most relevance to the issues that are faced by people who are blind or vision impaired. These clauses require the Commission to investigate:

“B) whether any conduct, practices, behaviour or business activities by financial services entities fall below community standards and expectations.

F) the adequacy of forms of industry self-regulation, including industry codes of conduct; to identify, regulate and address misconduct in the relevant industry, to meet community standards and expectations and to provide appropriate redress to consumers”

The Commission’s preference for receiving submissions is via an online submissions form, but there are also other options available. The online form will ask you to:

  • Describe the misconduct of the relevant financial services entity
  • When this conduct occurred
  • Your views on what contributed to this misconduct, and
  • Any steps you have taken to complain about the conduct and the outcome of your complaint.

The form also enables you to provide the Royal Commission with other comments, including your views on what changes you would like them to recommend.

You can complete the online submission form here.

If you need assistance to complete the form or require the form in another format, you can contact the Commission by phone on 1800 909 826, or by email at FSRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au

Thanks for reading, and please consider taking up this call to action to support the work we are doing at a national level. If we don’t speak out about this issue, no one else will.

 

 

Blind Citizens Australia’s summary of the 2018-19 federal budget

The 2018-19 federal budget was released on Tuesday 8th May 2018. Blind Citizens Australia has long advocated for budget measures that support people who are blind or vision impaired and as such, the following areas may be of relevance: Read more.

Getting what you need in the new world of disability care and support. Victorian Workshops now open for registrations.

Throughout April, May and June, Blind Citizens Australia will be hosting several workshops across Victoria to provide more information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and My Aged Care. Find out more about the benefits of these workshops and how you can register.

Help us promote access and inclusion in your local community with our new EFTPOS accessibility postcards

Touchscreen technology has now entered the retail industry and is compromising the privacy, dignity and independence of people who are blind or vision impaired Australia-wide. BCA is working hard to address this issue at a national level, but we urgently need your help!

Perhaps you’ve already encountered an inaccessible touchscreen EFTPOS terminal when trying to pay for a product in a shop or settle the bill at a restaurant. If not though, you’re bound to come across one in your travels sometime soon. These devices do not have a physical keypad with buttons, and their touchscreen-only interface makes it difficult or impossible for many people who are blind or vision impaired to enter their PIN independently. This often results in a breach of privacy as people are left with no alternative but to divulge their PIN to another person in order to complete their transaction.

We need to make businesses more aware of the impact inaccessible touchscreen devices can have on customers who are blind or vision impaired, but it can be difficult for even the most experienced advocate to get the message across in some of the crowded and noisy environments where these devices are found. This is where our new advocacy tool comes in!

We’ve designed a postcard to enable any person who is blind or vision impaired who comes across an inaccessible touchscreen terminal to quickly and easily advocate for change. The front of the postcard includes the BCA logo and contact details, as well as the tag line:

“Use touch screen EFTPOS devices, lose touch with your customers”

The back of the postcard includes the following text:

“I want to pay you, but I can’t use your EFTPOS terminal because it does not have physical buttons. The touch screen design means that people who are blind or vision impaired like me cannot enter their PIN independently. I don’t want to share my PIN with you or anyone else – nor should I have to. Please give this card to your manager. Ask them to tell your bank to stop rolling out EFTPOS machines which can only be operated using touch screens and to give you a device with a keypad with buttons instead. This is the only legal and accessible way for a person who is blind or vision impaired to pay.”

Each postcard has a hole cut out of one corner to assist with orientation. When you are holding the postcard with the front facing towards you, the hole will be in the top left hand corner. If you are holding it with the back facing towards you, it will be in the right hand corner.

These postcards are available to you at no cost, all you have to do is contact us and ask for some to be sent to your nominated address. To assist with our work on this issue, we’d also really appreciate you getting in touch to let us know when and where you’ve used a postcard. You can contact us using the following details:

Phone 1800 033 660

SMS 0488 824 623

Email bca@bca.org.au