A joint statement, signed by 25 disability advocacy organisations and peak bodies, has urged the Australian Standard for the procurement of accessible Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to be enforced, promoted and monitored within the Australian Public Service (APS).
Signatories, including Vision Australia, Vision 2020, Blind Citizen’s Australia, Retina Australia, Royal Society for the Blind, and Macular Disease Foundation Australia, hope proactive procurement of accessible ICT will help increase the disability employment rate within the APS.
According to Vision Australia General Manager of Advocacy and Engagement Karen Knight, a large proportion of people with disabilities are excluded from employment opportunities in the majority of Australian workplaces, often due to the absence of accessible ICT.
“While all employers should strive for accessible workplaces, public agencies and departments have an obligation to lead the way in digital inclusion,” said Ms. Knight.
While all employers should strive for accessible workplaces, public agencies and departments have an obligation to lead the way in digital inclusion
“We know that this simple yet effective change in procurement could see an increase in people with disability being employed in the APS.”
In March 2017, Standards Australia adopted an Australian Standard specifically designed to address the accessibility of ICT, such as office equipment. Based on a European Standard, Australia is the first country outside Europe to adopt it.
“Inaccessible ICT is one of the key factors contributing to the underrepresentation of people with disability in the APS workforce but this could change if the standard was widely promoted and closely monitored,” said Ms. Knight.