Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes last week fired a broadside at the accessibility of government websites.
In a press release, Innes was highly critical of government agencies not meeting their obligations to provide equal access to public information for people with a disability.
“Making information as socially important and highly publicised as the Grocery Watch website and the Green Paper of Carbon Emissions Trading inaccessible to a significant sector of the population is, put bluntly, a disgrace”, Innes said.
In Sunday’s Canberra Times, journalist Graeme Downie continued the criticism. He outlined the significant improvements in technology that enable people with disabilities to access mainstream information, so long as the information is presented in the correct way. Downie is a successful and well known Canberra journalist, who is also completely blind.
Innes himself was the first blind President of Royal Blind Society of NSW, and the first Chair of Vision Australia, Australia's largest national blindness agency. Innes has been one of Australia's delegates to the World Blind Union, and the President of that Union's Asia-Pacific region.
Disabilities are no longer a necessary impediment to successful careers, but can still be overlooked when designing new systems.