Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Digital world widens for people with disability in the South

Joint Media Release with:

  • Amanda Rishworth MP, Member for Kingston

Blind and vision impaired residents in Southern Adelaide can now fully participate in the library experience as a result of a Gillard Government initiative that is providing digital devices to public libraries across Australia.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, and Member for Kingston, Amanda Rishworth, today visited Noarlunga Library to test drive the new technology that is giving people with print disability in the South greater access to library materials.

Onkaparinga City Council has been successful in their bid for 15 digital playback devices under the Australian Government’s $1 million Increasing Accessibility Library Initiative.

Using a DAISY player device today, Ms Rishworth said “Fifteen new playback devices is a great addition to our local library network and I’m sure local residents with a vision impairment or disability will take full advantage of the improved access to the library’s content.

“It’s great to have our local library staff receive training from Vision Australia to ensure they can help locals to use the new equipment and access the available resources.”

The digital playback devices called DAISY Players work by ‘reading’ digital materials such as books and newspapers, giving people with print disability increased access to the vast range of digital material available through public libraries.

“Almost one fifth of the Australian population are unable to read standard print information; this includes people who are blind, have low vision or people with a physical or learning disability,” Senator McLucas said.

“Our Library Initiative supports them to access and enjoy books and other printed material again.”

“Many people who have not read anything for years are being reintroduced to the joy of books through the technology being delivered to libraries by the Gillard Government.”

“And it helps people with disability access information, which we know is so important in the modern world for education, employment and staying connected.”

The Increasing Accessibility Library Initiative delivers on a Gillard Labor Government election commitment andis part of an $11 million accessibility package to support the National Disability Strategy.