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Posts Tagged ‘Australian Government’

I had the privilege of speaking on the topic of accessibility of social media at the Gov2.0 Roundtable on the 26th of November at Australian Parliament House, Canberra.

Senior government leaders and industry met in Canberra on the 26 November, 2009 to discuss accessibility of government communications services for people with disabilities hosted by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and Senator for the ACT Kate Lundy.

The nation’s key decision makers discussed issues of social inclusion and communications accessibility, the changing role of citizen participation and planning for a more accessible government and was opened by Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Other speakers at the seminar included: Senator Kate Lundy, Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Dr Nicholas Gruen, Chair of the Government 2.0 Taskforce, Graeme Innes AM, Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Abul Rizvi, Deputy Secretary, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

The program for the event follows:

Gov2.0 Roundtable on Accessibility for People with Disabilities

9:00    Welcome to Country – Matilda House

9:05    Introduction – Sue Salthouse, ACCAN Board Member and Chair of ACCAN’s Standing Advisory Committee on Disability Issues

9:10    Opening remarks – Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Availability, Accessibility and Affordability

9:20    Social Inclusion and Communications Accessibility– Graeme Innes AM, Disability Discrimination Commissioner

9:40    The role of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Kevin Cocks, CEO of Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

10:00 Discussion

What is Happening?

10:15   Accessible media developments-Dr. Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia and member of ACCAN’s Standing Advisory Committee on Disability Issues

10:35   Maximising accessibility in communications– Bert Ciavarra Disability Services Coordinator, Telstra

10:55   Indigenous and remote online participation – Heron Loban, Chair of Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network and ACCAN Board member

11:15   Accessibility and social networking tools– Dr Denise Wood, Senior Lecturer, University of South Australia, ACCAN’s Standing Advisory Committee on Disability Issues

11:35   Public procurement in ICT – Gunela Astbrink, Manager, Disability Policy and Research, ACCAN

11:55 Discussion

Where we are Going?

12:15   The changing role of citizen participation – Senator Kate Lundy

12:30   Planning for a more accessible Government – Abul Rizvi, Deputy Secretary, DBCDE

12:40 Discussion

1:00    Closing remarks – Dr Nicolas Gruen, Chair of Gov2.0 Taskforce

1:10    Summary of actions from Roundtable – Allan Asher, CEO, ACCAN

1:25    Close of Roundtable


The full  report of the Gov2.0 task force is now available.

The audio of the Roundtable is now available from Senator Kate Lundy’s website and will be transcribed shortly.

My presentation focused on:

  1. The benefits of social networking and 3D virtual worlds for people with disabilities and those in situations where they find it difficult to interact directly with others on a daily basis;
  2. The challenges imposed by these environments and I will here mention technical issues relating to accessibility; attitudinal barriers; issues relating to regional location and lack of access to affordable bandwidth; responsibilities of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the need for community support services and the need for education;
  3. Some of the initiatives under way to address these challenges, and the barriers that impede these efforts;
  4. The opportunities that Government 2.0 holds if these challenges can be met.

My full report will be available for download from Senator Kate Lundy’s site in the near future.

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On the 31st August I attended a meeting at the Australian Communications Consumer Advocacy Network (ACCAN) Sydney office to discuss ACCAN’s Draft Strategy Consultation paper, which will become the ACCAN strategic plan over the next five years.

ACCAN is the peak body that represents all consumers on communications issues including telecommunications, broadband and emerging new services. ACCAN provides a strong unified voice to industry and government as consumers work towards availability, accessibility and affordability of communications services for all Australians.

ACCAN’s goals and activities include:

  1. Improved accessibility, affordability and availability of communications services to all consumers;
  2. Better informed consumers with access to Australian information and communications technology resources;
  3. A strong, co-ordinated voice which uses our diversity as a point of strength for communications consumers, nationally and internationally;
  4. Effective advocacy for consumers to Government, regulators and the industry in the development of policy, legislation and industry practices;
  5. Inclusive consultation with stakeholders to identify areas and priorities for industry and/or regulatory responses;
  6. Robust research to support evidence based policy development and consumer education programs;
  7. Meaningful participation in regulatory and co-regulatory activities including industry codes, standards and guidelines
  8. Outreach, campaigns and activities that involve consumers in the communications arena
  9. Enhanced capacity for consumer representatives through information seminars, training and international engagement
  10. Openness, transparency and inclusion of all parties interested in representing consumers on communications issues

Members of the Disability Consultation Group who attended the Sydney consultation meeting included:

Sue Salthouse – Women With Disabilities Australia – Chairperson/Board Member

Andrew Stewart – Deafness Forum

Andrew Wiltshire – Deaf Australia

Denise Wood – University of South Australia

Frank Nowlan – Blind Citizens Australia

Jan Ashford – Communication Aid Users Society

Leah Hobson – Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Rob Garrett – Novita Children’s Services

Barry Dingle (by teleconference)

Further information about ACCAN is available from the website: http://www.accan.org.au/

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