Friday 14 August

It’s been another busy few weeks here at BCA. Recent discussions on our BCA-L email list (which any BCA member can subscribe to by contacting us) have provided strong evidence of issues many members have around individualised funding through the NDIS and My Aged Care in relation to ‘thin markets’. A thin market is a term that is used to describe a situation where there is a lack of services available and as a result, an individual’s needs cannot be met. Thin markets are often experienced by people living in regional and remote areas, or by those who require a specialised service.

Over the past several years, BCA has been working consistently with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and with the Commonwealth Government through events like the NDIA CEO’s forum and ministerial meetings, to highlight these concerns and make recommendations. However, we are aware there is more work to be done in this space.

In response to these initial email discussions and the concerns raised, we would like to invite members to a virtual round table event to continue and broaden these important conversations and hear the views and experiences of members, including those who are not subscribed to BCA-L. The round table event will take place on Thursday 27th August at 7:30pm AEST and will be facilitated by Diana Kube, Policy and Advocacy Team Leader. The round table will last for 90 minutes and will take the place of our regular Happy Hour for that evening. You can log in using the Happy Hour details, they are included further on in this update.

After the round table BCA’s Policy and Advocacy team will prepare an issues paper which we will present to Government to support our advocacy work in this area. We will make this paper available via our website once it is complete. We will also provide follow up information on the outcome of these discussions.

If you have information you would like to provide but are unable to attend the round table event on the 27th August, please email your feedback directly to so that it can be included.

In this update you’ll find:

CEO’s Update

Emma Bennison is back with her weekly update. You can view it on the BCA Facebook page, our YouTube channel and on our website. Links are posted below:

Save the date!

BCA has plenty of exciting events and initiatives planned, here are a few to save the date for:

Thursday 27 August 7:30pm – 9:00pm: Round Table on Thin Markets

See the Happy Hour schedule for all of the details.

Wednesday 30 September 10:00am – 2:00pm: Aboriginal Blind People’s Forum

More details are provided further on in the update.

Saturday 17 October 10:30am – 5:30pm: BCA Connect

More information coming soon!

Saturday 28 November: BCA Annual General Meeting

Details coming soon.

Advocacy Success: Educating Businesses About Dog Guides During Covid-19 Crisis

The current restrictions have everyone on edge in Victoria. Businesses have been forced to review how people enter their premises and how many customers can be present at one time. Then add the complexities if a dog guide is involved.

There is legislation to protect the rights of dog guide handlers to access businesses, however the current climate is causing a great deal of confusion for many.

BCA’s National Advocacy Officer recently assisted a member following an incident during which the member and his companion were denied entry to a Melbourne restaurant prior to the imposition of lockdown. The reason given was that the restaurant could not cater for a guide dog while there were community distancing requirements in place because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Sadly, on this occasion, our member was unable to join his friends for a pleasant dining experience. The good news outcome to this case is that after speaking to the manager of the restaurant, an immediate apology was conveyed to our client and a free meal offered to him. The manager was shocked and deeply embarrassed that this had occurred and will be retraining his staff to ensure that such discriminatory behaviour does not occur at his restaurant again.

This was a fantastic outcome and highlights the impact of BCA’s advocacy service for individuals.

NSW Western Region Meeting

Hello to all our members in Western New South Wales. One thing the current climate has shown us is that we can still meet. The emergence of virtual meetings has revolutionised our ability to connect.

On 26th August at 7:30pm AEST, the Western Region branch of NSW, along with representatives from the NSW / ACT State Division are holding a meeting to discuss the future of the branch and options to reinvigorate it. BCA has a number of local branches around Australia that are designed to provide a local peer network and look at issues relevant to members in that local area. The meeting will be held via Zoom and you can join through your computer, tablet, smart phone or land line.

If you haven’t used Zoom before but would like to attend the meeting please call BCA and we can talk you through the process.

Details for the meeting are:


Wednesday 26th August 2020


7:30pm AEST

Join In Details

  • To join from your computer or tablet, click this link:
  • To join from your smart phone, click this link: +61731853730,,89833744483#
  • To connect through a landline phone, dial: 02 8015 6011 and then enter the meeting ID: Meeting ID: 898 3374 4483

Aboriginal Blind People’s Forum

BCA, with the support of organisations such as First People’s Disability Network, are excited to announce the next Aboriginal Blind People’s Forum. These forums are an opportunity for First Nation’s people who are blind or vision impaired from throughout Australia to come together.


Wednesday 30th September 2020


10:00am – 2:00pm AEST

Log in details:

  • To join via your computer, tap this link:
  • To join using your smart phone, tap this link: +61871501149,,87402382791#
  • To dial in using a landline phone, dial this number: +61 2 8015 6011, then enter the Meeting ID: 874 0238 2791

Topics for the day:


Sport is a great way to meet people, form new and lasting friendships, stay fit, healthy and active and improve mental health. It can also lead to new and exciting opportunities.

Two of Australia’s leading vision impaired Aboriginal athletes – Ricky Segura and Candice Kennedy – will speak about how sport has played a vital role in their lives at a critical time, as they dealt with the impact of degenerative eye conditions.

Following this, we discuss and identify pathways for people to access a variety of sport and recreation activities and we will hear from Blind Sports Australia CEO Matt Clayton and other leaders in the industry.


Studying opens up a world of opportunity and today the choices for people who are blind or vision impaired who want to study are wide ranging. Representatives from TAFE NSW will speak about the pathways for First Nations People who are blind or vision impaired.

Also hear from Stephen Belbin, Birrigai man and director at BCA who works in the education sector and relays first hand his experiences and journey as he built his career in education.

If you’d like to join in the meeting, you can set up a hub in a public location (if your state or territory permits) and invite others to join you. Otherwise, you can join from your computer, tablet, smart phone or land line

Happy Hour Schedule

Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances trivia for this Saturday night (15th August) has had to be cancelled. We’ll be back the following week.

Don’t forget our happy hours are now on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7.30pm AEST. And don’t miss Saturday night trivia each week.

Tuesday 18th August 7:30pm: How did you get that job?

Join your host Tim Haggis with special guests Doug McGinn and Garry Stinchcombe who have both had distinguished careers in the education sector.

As we explore the journeys that both Doug and Garry have taken whilst building their careers, let’s find out how they adapted to the ever-changing environment.

Thursday 20th August 7.30pm: AIRA

Join your hosts Graeme Innes and Susan Thompson who are jointly responsible for creating the free AIRA access Sydney Trains. Find out what AIRA is, what it does, and how it can help you. We will also hear from AIRA directly with plenty of opportunity for questions and answers.

Saturday 22nd August 8:00pm: Trivia Night with Diana and Tony.

This is Diana and Tony’s first trivia night so expect the unexpected. Both hosts bring a wealth of knowledge and trivia experience to the table to test your general knowledge.

Tuesday 25th August 7:30pm: My Community My Way

Guide Dogs organisations have launched a new online interactive hub where people who are blind or vision impaired, their family, friends, practitioners, donors, and carers, can find the information they need, all in the one place, Representatives from Guide Dogs will be joining us to explore the new hub and what it means.

Thursday 27th August 7.30pmRound Table Discussion: The challenges of navigating Thin Markets for people who are blind or vision impaired

A thin market is an environment in which services are not readily available, meaning that a person in need of support is not able to access that support.

This round table is an initiative BCA has developed in response to a series of discussions held by members on our BCA-l email list. You are invited to express your views, and pass on knowledge about experiences in sourcing support or support workers. Let’s all work together to build a better and stronger environment for those receiving individualised funding through the NDIS or My Aged Care.

Saturday 29th August 8:00pm: Trivia with Doug McGinn and Stephen Jolley

Could it be anything other than sport? Join our hosts and test your knowledge of sport.

How to join a Happy Hour

  • If you are on a computer, laptop or tablet you can click on this link:
  • If you are on a smart phone, you can tap on this number: +61370182005,,291084578#
  • If you are on a landline, you can dial 02 8015 6011 and enter the code: 291 084 578

Happy Hour Wrap Up from the Previous Fortnight

Here’s a brief summary of what was discussed at some recent Happy Hours.

Tuesday 4 August – How to Put On A Face Mask

This happy hour was developed due to the increasing requirements for masks to be worn. Putting on a face mask if you have limited or no vision is complex and during this session we explored different masks and the safest way to put them on. You can find a description of a mask, instructions to safely wear one and links to information from the Australian Department of Health and the World Health Organisation on the Covid-19 page on BCA’s website.

Thursday 6 August – Beyond Blue hosted by Chris Swaine

From the outside, Chris had it all; a great job which saw him travel the world, plenty of money and he was married with a young son. However, due to stress and not knowing how to manage it, Chris drove himself to breaking point. Following a major breakdown, Chris rebuilt his life and now he enjoys life including spending time with his family. He has taken up rugby and gardening and he has made new and lasting friendships. Most importantly he has left the stress behind and given up alcohol.

Chris talked of his experiences and gave important words of encouragement to our members. The most important message was that if you feel unhappy, ask for help.

Beyond Blue provides much needed support for those of us who battle anxiety and depression. Many people are suffering from this and possibly don’t know they are, or are unsure of how to deal with it. For more information, visit

Tuesday 11 August – Victoria Happy Hour Part two

Hosted by Samantha Marsh, we discussed issues affecting our Victorian based members. This included going out in public and not being able to navigate signage regarding social distancing, as quite often it clashed with other advertising. We also discussed: not being able to access support workers and regular and essential support, feeling isolated and alone and not being able to exercise effectively. Important points to consider are keeping a routine and going for a walk if possible. Doing online exercise classes was also discussed as a way of staying as active as possible.

Thursday 13 August – Writing A Cover Letter for an advertised position

Sally Aurisch General Manager Projects and Engagement discussed the importance of a cover letter and, the resources available through the Eye to the Future website.

Covid-19 Testing at Home

The Victorian Health Minister announced a new program recently that will allow some people to be tested for the virus from their homes.

Victorians who cannot get to a coronavirus testing site easily will have access to a free home test within 48 hours.

Under the new “call-to-test” program, Victorians will need to contact the state’s coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. More information is available through the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Call to Test website.

NDIA Approve Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Temporary changes to funding arrangements for PPE have been made to better support participants during the extended COVID-19 pandemic.

You can now recover the costs to purchase PPE items using your NDIS funds, if you;

  • receive an average of at least one hour a day of face-to-face daily living supports, and
  • live in Victoria or New South Wales.

Plan and self-managed participants can purchase PPE and record and claim their purchases in the usual way. Agency-managed participants can purchase PPE through registered providers.

If you need PPE items like face masks, face shields and gloves, and the use of these items is directly related to your face-to-face daily living supports, you can use your core supports budget to purchase these items.

There is more information available on the NDIS Website

Perth Festival Advertises Two Internships

Perth Festival has just opened applications for 2 new traineeships – paid positions for those who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Culturally and/or Linguistically Diverse and/ or with disability.

Applicants are not required to have formal educational or workplace experience. The hours and place of work are negotiable, and we will work with candidates to address their access requirements.

More information is available at this link:

Blind Sports Australia Seeks A Project Coordinator

The role is for an experienced Project Coordinator on a two-year contract working 19 hours per week across 3-4 days as part of the Driving Inclusion Through Sport project. Please click on the link below for more details. Applications close on August 30 2020.

More information is available at this link:

List of Links

How to get in touch with BCA

You can get in touch with us through the following methods: