Vision Australia, with the support of 25 other disability advocacy groups, organisations and peak bodies, is working towards reducing the numbers of people with disability who are excluded from the workplace all because of a lack of accessible information and communications technology (ICT).
The collective group signed a joint statement and delivered it to key officials two weeks ago detailing how procuring accessible ICT can help increase the disability employment rate within the Australian Public Service.
Following the delivery of the statement, Vision Australia General Manager of Advocacy and Engagement Karen Knight says the group has received positive feedback from, and met with, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), who she says has pledged to promote and closely monitor accessibility guidelines.
“While all employers should strive for accessible workplaces, public agencies and departments have an obligation to lead the way in digital inclusion,” Ms Knight explains.
“We know that this simple yet effective change in procurement could see an increase in people with disability being employed in the Australian Public Service.
“Inaccessibile ICT is one of the key factors contributing to the under-representation of people with disability in the Australian Public Service workforce but this could change if the standard was widely promoted and closely monitored.
“We are hopeful that the initial discussions with key officials will lead to substantive action and help educate procurement officers in the practical application for acquiring accessible ICT.
“This will, in turn, increase the diversity within public services across the country.
“While we look forward to continuing discussions with the DTA, we are mindful that the work toward equal access to employment in Australia will take both hard work and ongoing commitment from both disability groups and decision makers.”
Vision Australia says they will share any updates and progress on the campaign to ensure accessible ICT is provided by all government departments and agencies will be posted on their website.