Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Digital world to widen for Australians with print disability

Public libraries across Australia are being encouraged to participate in a new program to give people with print disability greater access to digital library materials.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, said applications are open for a $1 million Australian Government initiative aimed at improving access to library resources for people with print disability.

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

“We are encouraging libraries across Australia to be part of this new program to help deliver digital playback technology for people with print disability.”

Under this initiative, a range of digital playback devices such as DAISY players and audio-navigators will be provided, making print material such as books and newspapers more accessible for people with print disability.

The initiative will also support training and access to digital content.

This initiative is part of an $11 million accessibility package to support people with disability participate in community life and delivers on yet another Gillard Labor Government election commitment.

It builds upon the Australian Government’s Accessible Communities grants program, which is currently open to local councils to improve the accessibility of their local infrastructure, and the national Leaders for Tomorrow program that will help people with disability become leaders in business, community and government through mentoring and leadership development.

The Australian Government has contracted the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to implement this initiative.

Libraries are invited to apply through ALIA.

Further information on the initiative is available at the FaHCSIA website or the Australian Library and Information Association’s website

The closing date for applications is 4 March 2011.