Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Delivering greater access to people with print disability in Fremantle

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, today announced Fremantle library would receive ten new digital playback devices to give people with print disability greater access to library materials.

Fremantle City Library has been successful under the Australian Government’s Increasing Accessibility Library Initiative which is providing $1 million for digital playback devices to be made available for loan to people with print disability through public libraries across Australia.

The initiative also includes training library staff to help users access available resources.

Senator McLucas said one of the significant barriers to inclusion and participation for people with print disability is a lack of access to information.

“Almost 20 per cent 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.”

“Providing access to material in a range of alternative formats plays a vital role in increasing the independence of people with print disability and enhancing their engagement with the broader community.”

Digital playback devices such as DAISY players and audio-navigators work by ‘reading’ digital materials including as books and newspapers, making print material more accessible for people with print disability.

Testing a playback device at Fremantle City Library today, Senator McLucas said the equipment will enhance the public library experience and provide access to the valuable public library network for people with print disability.

“Public libraries provide valuable resources, services and information to all Australians. The playback devices mean people with print disability will be able to benefit from more of the material held in public libraries across the nation.”

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

Senator McLucas congratulated the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) for their work in helping deliver the Increasing Accessibility Library Initiative and the vital role they will play in delivering the playback devices to public library services across the country.

Further information is available at or the Australian Library and Information Association’s website,