Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

More BiTS to help visually impaired in South Australia

People who are blind, or visually impaired, will now have better access to a wide range of information through the extension of an innovative system with funding from the Howard Government.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Patterson, today announced $150,000 in funding for the Royal Society for the Blind South Australia to rollout the highly successful Books in the Sky (BiTS) system to public libraries in several states, including NSW, Victoria and QLD.

“The grant of $150,000 will allow BiTS to be rolled out to a further 10 libraries, which will help 300 people who are blind or vision impaired to access all kinds of information, be it informative, educational or entertaining,” Senator Patterson said.

“The BiTS system is a digital compression and encryption system for storing, handling and transmitting electronic information through the public library system.

“The system represents a small but significant step in the way that blind or vision impaired people can access information.

“The Royal Society for the Blind South Australia is the primary provider of services to people who are blind or vision impaired in the state. It provides a full range of rehabilitation services to over 9,960 people.

“The Howard Government is committed to supporting the rights of people with a disability by addressing the physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent them from participating in the community.

“Through this the Government plays a significant role in supporting people with disability and the people who care for them through a range of support and payments, and initiatives such as anti-discrimination legislation to help address the barriers that people with a disability face,” Senator Patterson said.

Information about the Books in the Sky (BiTS) system rollout can be obtained from The Royal Society for the Blind South Australia Telephone (08) 8232 4777.