Life Ready – Community Consultation

In 2018/19 Blind Citizens Australia will be conducting a series of teleconferences around becoming ‘life ready’ – practical discussions around supports and services that are available to you, or things you can do to prepare to live an independent life.

To enable us to gain a better understanding of what independence means to you as someone who is blind or vision impaired, we’d appreciate it if you could take the time to complete a short questionnaire.

BCA recognises that vision can change at any time or occur at any age and therefore we develop skills around becoming an independent person who is blind at different stages of life. Although some of these questions relate particularly to younger people we value feedback from all people, of any age.

If you would like to complete the questionnaire but do not wish to do so over the internet please call the BCA office on 1800 033 660 and a member of staff can complete it over the phone with you.

If you have any questions, please contact Sally Aurisch, NSW / ACT Project Coordinator on or on 1800 033 660.

Your responses to the questionnaire are confidential and will be used to support the development of content for upcoming teleconferences and workshops that relate to the Life Ready project.

Ulaanbaatar Statement


Participants at the recent World Blind Union – Asia Pacific (WBUAP) Mid-Term General Assembly in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) adopted the following statement:

Posted 14/09/2018 on the WBUAP webpage

“We, the participants at the World Blind Union – Asia Pacific (WBUAP) Mid-Term Regional General Assembly in UlaanBaatar, 12 September, 2018 adopt the following statement and refer it to relevant stakeholders for their consideration and action where appropriate:

1. We request governments to review or enact legislation which ensures that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities constitutes an effective tool for change in the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted; and we urge all WBUAP members to engage with monitoring and implementation processes to the maximum extent possible.

2. We call upon all governments throughout the WBU Asia Pacific region (Region) to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty as soon as practicable, so that persons who are blind or partially sighted or who have other print disabilities, have the fullest possible access to works of literature and to educational materials. We congratulate the five countries in the Region that have already ratified the Treaty.

3. We encourage national and international development organisations to work with governments to develop disability-inclusive policies and to implement programs to progress the action plans for the Sustainable Development Goals, the Incheon Strategy and the Beijing Declaration.

4. We encourage WBUAP members to co-operate with the United Nations Development Program to build capacity across the region so that persons who are blind or partially sighted are able to advocate for greater access to information.

5. We request all WBUAP members to give priority to policies that promote the empowerment of blind and partially sighted women by striving for their equality, safety and economic independence. In particular, members should focus on the themes identified by the 2018 WBU Asia Pacific Women’s Forum: education, employment, leadership opportunities, social participation, technology and the prevention of abuse and exploitation of women.

6. In acknowledging the very successful leadership training course held in December 2017 in Bangkok, under the generous sponsorship of the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), we encourage WBUAP members to actively provide leadership training and mentoring opportunities to facilitate the active participation of young people at the national and regional level. Furthermore, we request all members to pay attention to the needs, opinions and aspirations of young people, as well as nurture their leadership potential.

7. Noting that not all countries in the WBU Asia Pacific region were able to fully participate in this regional assembly, largely due to a lack of resources and/or infrastructure, we encourage WBUAP members to reach out to neighbouring countries to help them build their capacity to ensure improved services and peer support for their blind and partially sighted citizens. In this regard we express our appreciation to those organisations which have sponsored participants at this Assembly.

8. We call upon all governments, corporations and other global partners to take their share of responsibility and consult effectively to ensure that information and communications technologies are available, accessible and affordable to, and useable by, persons who are blind or partially sighted—as it is through such technology that real inclusion can be advanced and social isolation eliminated.

9. We endorse the generous offer of Hong Kong Blind Union to initiate and lead the implementation of a web accessibility campaign at the regional level, with active support from WBUAP members, to promote the adoption of internationally recognised accessibility standards in web design, apps, e-learning and other ICT products and services.

10. Noting the unacceptably high levels of unemployment and under-employment of persons who are blind or partially sighted in many countries, we call on all governments to implement or out-source programs that enable economic empowerment through the full participation in employment including: the promotion and resourcing of occupation-specific programs which promote the economic independence of blind and partially sighted people; awareness-raising programs for public and private employers and the community; transition to employment programs for school-leavers and newly-blinded persons; and the operation of specialist equipment and assistive technology schemes.

11. We support the proposal of the WBU Global Employment committee to request the WBU Officers to give much higher priority to employment issues including a major focus at the 2020 WBU General Assembly in Spain. In addition, noting the success of project Aspiro, we request WBUAP members to find ways to support Project Aspiro such as by providing employment-related information and case studies in their major languages for inclusion on the Project Aspiro website.

12. We call on the WBUAP members to share actively best practice initiatives and programs in areas including employment promotion and entrepreneurship, fundraising and capacity building.

13. We urge WBUAP members and networks to maintain strong communication with each other, using the WBUAP web site, The East Wind newsletter and other communication tools – ensuring that where practicable no person is left behind.

14. We congratulate the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind (MNFB) on the hosting of a very successful regional assembly; and we express our appreciation to the Mongolian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and to the members, staff and volunteers from MNFB whose collective efforts have made our stay in UlaanBaatar so productive and enjoyable.

2018 Annual General Meeting

Blind Citizens Australia will hold its 43rd Annual General Meeting in Melbourne, at the John Pierce Centre, 25-35 High Street, Prahran, on Saturday, 1 December 2018 at 11:00am. Those members unable to attend in person will be able to listen in to the proceedings via a live stream. The AGM will be followed by lunch and a discussion forum in the afternoon for those who can attend in person.

More details…

NSW / ACT 2018 Convention – Register Now!


The NSW/ACT State Division of BCA invites you to attend it’s first convention as a newly formed state division. We take time to look at the things that help us live a good life in NSW and the ACT, from tips for everyday living to gadgets and technology that make our lives easier. You will get a chance to share ‘diverse experiences of parenting’ and hear and reminisce about attending camp. You can network during Friday night welcome drinks and Convention dinner. And, if you want to tap into your primal self, come join us in a drumming circle!

Friday 26th – Sunday 28th October 2018

Travelodge Hotel, Newcastle, West NSW

More details…


Launch of the BCA NSW/ACT State Division to be audio streamed!


The BCA Board and NSW/ACT State Division Committee invite you to join us to celebrate the launch of our first state division. The launch will be held on Saturday July 14th at the Newcastle Travelodge.

The event will be streamed via the links below.

The NSW/ACT State Division was formed when, in late  2017, the decision was made to consolidate Blind Citizens New South Wales into Blind Citizens Australia. Since then, the State Division Committee has developed its first annual plan, which sets out an ambitious but sustainable road map for the new state division in its first eighteen months.

The Internet broadcast will commence at 10:20AM (AEST) on Saturday July 14th and the program will include:

  • A welcome to Newcastle from Stephen Belbin, President Newcastle Hunter Valley Branch
  • Introductory Comments by John Simpson, BCA President
  • Launch of BCA NSW/ACT State Division by Michael Simpson General Manager NSW/ACT Vision Australia
  • A national update from Emma Bennison, BCA CEO
  • Information about the forthcoming BCA NSW/ACT State Convention and “Spring into Action Month” from Joana d’Orey Novo, Chair BCA NSW/ACT State Division
  • An Introduction to the NSW/ACT State Division Plan by Krystel Malcolm and Sally Aurisch – NSW/ACT Co-Ordinators
  • Announcement of a new partnership between BCA and the Guide Dogs Association of NSW/ACT from John Simpson and James Bennett, Director, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

The event will conclude with an open Question and Answer session. You can submit your questions and comments by text message to 0488 824 623.

To join the program, follow these links: