BCA Calls for Taxis to Accept Dog Guides

On Monday, January 18, Nadia Mattiazzo, a Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) member who is totally blind and uses a dog guide, was refused service by a taxi driver because of her dog. “This is the sixth or seventh time I’ve been refused service in the last year. I’ve lodged complaints every time it’s happened and there has been very little action taken at any time”, Nadia said today in an interview with 3AW.

Alarmingly, Nadia was holding the door handle of the taxi when it pulled away in this latest instance, raising serious safety concerns.

“We at BCA share Nadia’s frustration,” said BCA CEO Leah van Poppel. “Although we know the issues for taxi companies can be complicated – such as high staff turnover and cultural concerns – it’s unacceptable in this day and age that a person who is blind should have their safety compromised by ignorance.”

BCA regularly hears from members who have been illegally refused taxi travel in Victoria and across the country, and works actively to advocate for change with organisations like the Victorian Taxi Commission.

“Despite a great deal of publicity being given to instances of dog guide users being refused service by taxi drivers, the issue continues to occur across the country,” said Ms van Poppel. We’re calling on companies, drivers and regulators to step up. We know the answers aren’t easy, but clearly more needs to be done.”

Media contact: Leah van Poppel BCA CEO

0430 210 980 leah.van.poppel@bca.org.au


Closing Date Extended – Blind Citizens WA Youth Scholarships 2015

Dear Blind Citizens WA Members,

Blind Citizens WA Inc is proud to offer three scholarships for members under the age of 35 to attend the 2015 Blind Citizens Australia Convention, including the 40th Anniversary Ruby Red Dinner, to be held at the Mercure Hotel Perth, 9 – 11 October 2015. The scholarships are offered in memory of the late Josephine Nicholson.

Each scholarship will cover the cost of registration ($195), with up to $130 per scholarship to help towards transport and/or accommodation costs.

The application closing date has now been extended to Friday 2 October 2015.

To apply, please download and complete the BCWA 2015 Youth Scholarships Application Form (also attached) and return to bcwa@westnet.com.au by 5pm, Friday 2 October 2015.

Successful applicants will be advised by Monday 5 October 2015.

If you have any questions or have any difficulty accessing the application form, please contact Blind Citizens WA President Deanne Ferris via bcwa@westnet.com.au or call 0438 687 768.

For information about the BCA 2015 National Convention visit:

Warm regards,

Deanne Ferris
Blind Citizens WA Inc.
Mobile: 0438 687 768

May Edition of BCA Parents News

The May edition of BCA Parent News is now available!

To grab your copy please go to May 2015 BCA Parent News (Word doc)

In this edition you will find the following items:

  • Parent News moving to a mailchimp format in August 2015
  • Youth Leadership Development Program for Individuals who are Deafblind
  • The 13th WBUAP ONKYO World braille essay contest 2015
  • Spacecamp 2015
  • Blindness – What it means in the mind of a blind child
  • 50 Daisy players @ $50.00 for families
  • The Lighthouse Facebook Group
  • Puggle’s Parents Facebook Group
  • Braille Music Camp 2015
  • BCA Resources
  • “Stay Still, Squeaky!”: the first accessible, interactive, audio eBook for toddlers
  • Disability standard for education website
  • BCA membership, only $20 for lifetime membership!
  • We want to hear from you!
  • Follow BCA on Facebook and Twitter

If you would like to read past editions of BCA Parent News, please visit our Publications page

Happy reading,
From the team at Blind Citizens Australia.

Resignation from BCA Board

Due to increasing work commitments, Lauren Henley has informed me that she will need to resign her Directorship on the BCA board.

It is with regret that the Board has accepted Lauren’s resignation. Lauren has been an outstanding contributor to the governance of BCA; to lose her ability and skill-set will be a great loss.

The BCA Board would like to wish Lauren all the best for the future.

Thank you

Greg Madson

Vision Australia’s “Tell the Whole Story” Campaign

Vision Australia has launched a letter campaign, called “Tell the whole story”, to compel broadcasters and the Minister for Communications, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, to ‘tell the whole story’ by mandating the delivery of audio description on Australian television.

This campaign coincides with Vision Australia lodging a Disability Discrimination Act complaint against all commercial television stations in Australia, including Foxtel. The complaint argues that the stations must provide an audio description service for at least 14 hours of content per week. These complaints follow a recent survey of our clients in which 86 per cent of respondents felt that an audio description service was important to allow people who are blind or have low vision to access the full TV experience.

Add your voice to this campaign by writing to Minister Turnbull using the form on the link to the Vision Australia website below. You can add your personal experience of audio description to this letter, which will then be sent to the Minister on your behalf.

Audio Description: Tell the Whole Story Survey