Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Government seeks feedback on Print Disability Services

The Australian Government is seeking feedback on the provision of information in alternative formats for people with print disability as part of its review of the Print Disability Services Program.

The review is seeking submissions from alternative format providers on how the program could be improved to best meet the needs of people with print disability.

In 2008-09, $1.4 million was allocated to the Program with nine not-for-profit organisations receiving funding.

the Bill Shorten said the Program has not changed significantly for over a decade, so it is time to make the program more effective in delivering services and ensure it supports new technology.

“Access to information is vital for enabling people to be part of our modern society as most information is printed on paper or computer screens,” Mr Shorten said.

“There are currently around 300,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision and many others who are unable to read standard print with ease due to a physical or learning disability.

“Alternative print formats, including Braille, audio cassettes, CD’s, large print and electronic formats help people with a disability to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, including work and education.

“The Government recognises this, and the review will look to improve our service delivery by consulting those with a unique understanding of these formats.

“Submissions to the review will contribute to a revised program that will help to ensuring we provide increased support to people with a disability,” Mr Shorten said.

For more information and a copy of the discussion paper with submission form visit theĀ  website (

All submissions must be received by 5pm AEST Friday 19 June 2009.