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Media Release – 17 Dec 2018


Huawei uses thepower of AI to help deaf children and their parents learn and enjoy readingtogether 

Sydney – Australia 

Huawei Aurtralia has today announced the launch of StorySign, an AI-powered app that helps enriching story time for deaf and hard of hearing children and their parents. This follows the global announcement earlier this month. There are approximately 32 millions deaf children globally and around 250-400 deaf children are born in Australia each year*. Many struggled to learn to read, often due to lack of options that help bridge sign language learning and reading. StorySign uses the power of Huawei’s AI (Artifical Intelligence) to create an authenthic reading experience, helping to open the world of books to deaf children and their families. 

Pioneered by Huawei and available in Australia from February 2018. StorySign will feature the popular children’s book, Where’s Spot at launch. With the help of StorySign’s friendly avatar Star and using the power of Huawei AI, the app translates the featre book into perfect sign language page by page delivering a seamless, happy and rewarding experience. 

“At Huawei, we believe in the power of AI and that technology can make a positive difference in the world,’ comments Lisa Connors, Huawei Australia Corporate Responsibility Manager. “we created StorySign to help make it possible for families with deaf children to enjoy the truly magical moments of story time. Created with experts and charaties from the Deaf community. StorySign was developed to ensure its use as a genuinely useful tool for families with deaf and hard of hearing children.”

Huawei Australia has entered a six-month partnership with local charity organisation, Deaf Australia, to encourage support and donation for those affected. Through this partnership, Huawei will offer the StorySign app to the Australian Deaf Commuinty and aim to raise awareness of deaf literacy more broadly. 

“Deaf children don’t learn to read in the same way as hearing children. Many struggle to learn how to read because they can’t match words with sounds. The deaf communityis in need of accessible content to address children’s literacy development needs and digital tools like StorySign is addressing this neccesity. For this reason, we are priviledged to be working with Huawei on the StorySign project and how, through the use of AI and innovative technology, it could enrich the lives of Australian deaf children and their families in a meaningful ways.’ comments Kyle Miers, Chief Executive of Deaf Australia. 

“We are very hopeful that it will make a significant impact in the deaf community, helping more deaf children learn how to read at the same level as hearing children. We also hope the launch of StorySign will support a wider conversation about ensuring equality in every aspect of their lives for deaf people.” says Mark Wheatley, Executive Director of European Union of Deaf. 

Sign has no written form as there is no direct English word-for-word translation, which poses a huge challenge to deaf children when learning to read. Huawei’s StorySign app, in conjunction with smartphone and physical book, delivers a magical story time experience for both parent and child. 

Created with experts and charities from the deaf community across Europe and Australia, StorySign uses Huawei AI powerful Image Recognition and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to provide greater accuracy even when the child or parent positions the phone at an angle from the book. The AI further optimises the speed at which pages from othe book loads in the app meaning that children won’t be left waiting too long to find out what happens next in the story. 

StorySign launches in Australia with a film by Academy Award winner director Chris Overton and starring seven year-old actress Maisie Sly, both of whom worked on Oscar- winning short film The Silent Child. The StorySign film sees a young girl struggling to read with her father on Christmas Eve. Later that night, when she sneaks downstairs to peek at her present, she is stunned to see Santa who hands her a book for a gift. Upon realising that the little girl is deaf, Santa begin to sign the book and in that moment, she is the happiest little girl in the world, as he helps her enjoy the magic of story time. 

Partners involved in the app development include Deaf Australia, European Union of the Deaf and its local charities across Western Europe, publishing partner Penguin and the acclaimed animation specialists of Wallace & Grommit fame, Aardman. 

“When creating Star, the character for StorySign, we first had to immerse outselves in the world of sign lamguage,’ comments Neil Pymer, Interactive Creative Director, Aardman. “The complexity we found is overwhelming, so we needed to make sure that we created a character that not only resonated with the audience but also fulfilled it main job of teaching children to read. For example, we learned that facial expression play a critical role in sign language, so we created a character to embody that expressivity. At the same time, Star was designed to seem like an older sibling, somebody who will guide you through the book. Seeing the reactions of children when realising that Star signs the words in the book is something very special indeed.”

StorySign can be downloaded for free from Google Play and the Huawei AppGallery in 10 markets across Western Europe. It will be made available in Australia from February 2019 with compatibility with Auslan.

To watch film and learn how you can help, visit Donations can be made through via StorySign campaign hub on the Huawei website. All monies raised will support deaf children literacy projects across Europe and in Australia. including more books for StorySigm. 


Annual General Meeting – 30 November 2018
6.00 pm – Fenton Hall, Deaf Children Australia
597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne Victoria

Annual Report 2017/18 will be uploaded on Website after the Annual General Meeting.
Auslan interpreter is provided.

AGM and Meet the Directors

30 November 2018

Fenton Hall, Deaf Children Australia 

597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne Victoria 3004

The Board of Directors would like to invite you to attend the following:

  • Meet the Board of Directors and Chief Executive (10 am – 6pm)

Talk about your ideas, issues or challenges. Or learn about what Deaf Australia do.

  • 32nd Annual General Meeting (6.00 pm – 7.oo pm)

Annual report, financial report and member’s vote on Deaf Acknowledgement.

  • Presentation of Awards (7.00 pm – 8.00 pm)
    • Deaf Youth Australian of the Year
    • Deaf Australian of the Year
    • Fair-Go Award
    • Community Award (inaugural)

Additional information: 

    1. 32nd Annual General Meeting Agenda 
    2. Deaf Acknowledgement Poll (close 24 November)
    3. Apology/ Proxy (for members) (due on 24 November)
    4. Please RSVP your attendance by 28 November 2018 at [email protected]

Notice of Annual General Meeting (Change of Date)

FRIDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2018 at 6.00 PM



 Deaf Australia regrets to advise that the planned Annual General Meeting on 27 October 2018 in Canberra has been rescheduled to 30 November 2018 due to lack of required number of attendees for proceeding of the Business.
It will now hold on Friday 30 November 2018 at Fenton Hall at Deaf Children Australia, at 6pm at 597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004.  
Important Information:

  1. The Nomination for Board of Directors has closed and will not be accepting any nominations;
  2. There will be no new item for General Business;
  3. Survey on Deaf Acknowledgement is still open, please submit your vote by 24 November 2018. (To submit your vote, press here – thank you if you submitted your vote).
  4. If you are not attending, please submit your apology (here); or
  5. Submit your apology and proxy here (due 24 November 2018).
  6. Workshop will be held on 30 November and 1 December 2018 (all day) – further information will be provided shortly.

As advised on 16 November 2018 (via email):
Two (2) nominations was received, and there are three (3) Board of Director vacancies, two of which will be a full term (2018-2021), and one will remain vacant to AGM 2019.
Two nominations received were proposed, seconded and accepted:

  1. Rodney Adams (New South Wales)
  2. Debbie Kennewell (South Australia)

Therefore, I declare that Rodney Adams and Debbie Kennewell have been duly selected to the position of Board of Director (2018-2021).
The Board of Directors:

  • Todd Wright (NSW) – elected for 2017/20 term.
  • Debbie Kennewell (SA) – elected for 2015/18 term, available to re-elect
  • Adrian Doyle (Vic) – elected for 2017/20 term.
  • Rodney Adams (NSW) – co-opt member, available for nominate.

Annual Awards:
Nominations for Annual Awards is open (please click below to enter nomination).


  1. Submit Apology/ Proxy Form by Saturday, 24 November 2018;
  2. Submit your ballot vote (Deaf Acknowledgement) by Saturday, 24 November 2018.
  3. Nomination for Awards by Friday 16 November 2018.

Please send all items to the Deaf Australia at PO Box 1348, Blackburn North, Victoria 3130; or fax to 03 8691 1324; or email to [email protected]. Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Kyle Miers
Chief Executive/ Company Secretary

Standards Australia Draft for Comment – AS 13611

Deaf Australia is an active member of the Australian Standards Committee which reviews the International Standards Obligations (ISO) 13611:2014 and to modify to meet Australian’s context for provisioning of interpreting services in Australia.
Standards Australia has released a Draft Standards for Public Comment and you can find Draft Standards on this website.
Public Comment Closing Date is on 11 December 2018. 
You can either send comment/ feedback directly to Deaf Australia at [email protected] or go on website provided in the document (you will be required to register on Standards Australia’s Website).
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Last Notice for Nomination

Nomination for Board of Director closes midnight tonight.
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Apology/ Proxy (due 19 October)
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Notice of Annual General Meeting – 2018

Deaf Australia Inc. will hold its Thirty-Second (32nd) Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 10.30am on 27 October 2018 at Grant Cameron Community Centre at 27 Mulley Street, Hawker ACT 2611. 
Deaf Australia’s Constitution that was amended on 22 November 2014 states that:
Election of Board Directors:

  1. Nomination shall be in writing addressed to the secretary and shall be signed by the nominee, proposer and seconder, all whom must be financial Ordinary Individual Member of Deaf Australia, please use Nomination Form attached;
  2. Nomination must be lodged 21 days prior to Annual General Meeting (nomination must be received by 5 October 2018);
  3. If we receive 5 or more nominations, we will send you a ballot on 12 October 2018, and ballot must be received by 24 October 2018 (a ballot can be in form of electronic ballot);
  4. Only Ordinary Individual Members[i] are entitled to vote for board members. We will send you information on ballot voting once we receive nominations; and

The current Board Directors:

  • Todd Wright (NSW) – Continue to 2020.
  • Debbie Kennewell (SA) – Term expires, available to re-election
  • Adrian Doyle (Vic) – Continue to 2020
  • Rodney Adams (NSW) – co-opt member, end of term, available for nomination.

The constitution dictates the following:

  1. Maximum (two) 2 Board of Directors can be elected from same state/ territory;
  2. Up to 4 board directors (minimum 2) can be elected at 2018 AGM (only one from NSW and Victoria can be elected);
  3. After the AGM, the elected directors will determine its terms and positions.

Please complete Nomination Form below by 5 October 2018.

  • All members (ordinary and associate) are entitled to put items (things you want to talk about) on the agenda for the Annual General Meeting.
  • Written notice of items for the agenda must reach the Secretary by 5 October 2018Agenda, minutes and other papers will be sent to you later.

Voting at the Annual General Meeting:

  • If you are an Ordinary Individual Member or an Ordinary Organisation Member[ii] you are entitled to vote at Deaf Australia general meetings
  • If you are not coming to the meeting on 27 October 2018, you may appoint another member as your proxy to vote for you (proxy form is attached/ or use electronic form).

Please complete Proxy and Apology Form below by 19 October 2018.
NB:        The person you choose as your proxy must be a member of Deaf Australia who is entitled to vote

  • If you are an Associate Individual Member[iii] or an Associate Organisation Member[iv] of Deaf Australia you are not entitled to vote at Deaf Australia general meetings. However, you are very welcome to attend the meeting – the meeting is open to all members and other interested people who are not members.


  1. Submit board nomination forms by Friday, 5 October 2018;
  2. Propose your meeting agenda item/s by Friday, 5 October 2018;
  3. Submit Apology/ Proxy Form by Friday, 19 October 2018;
  4. Submit your ballot vote by Wednesday, 24 October 2018.

Please send all items to the Deaf Australia at PO Box 1348, Blackburn North, Victoria 3130; or fax to 03 8691 1324; or email to [email protected]. Thank you.
[i]   An Ordinary individual is Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person.
[ii]   An Ordinary organisation member is a national organisation where more than 50% of its board members are deaf or hard of hearing.
[iii]  An Associate individual member is a person who is not deaf or hard of hearing.
[iv]  An Associate organisation member is any organisation that is not a national organisation/ and or where less than 50% of board members are deaf and hard of hearing.
Kyle Miers
Chief Executive/ Company Secretary
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NWDP 2018 Events

National Week of Deaf People 2018 Activities and Events

All activities listed here are all registered through Deaf Australia. There may be other activities that is happening around Australia and we do not have this information. Activities may be subjected to change, please regularly check websites for updates.
21 September 6pm – 9pm. 
Wine Cheese Night
Ephpheta Centre, 4 Turner Street, Punchbowl, NSW.
RSVP required
Download Flyer here
23 – 29 September – 9am – 5pm (Daily) 
‘Healsville Sanctuary Celebrates National Week of Deaf People’
at Healsville Santuary, Badger Creek Road, Badger Creek, Victoria 3777.
Auslan interpreter will be onsite at Healesville Santucary between 11am and 3pm each day.
Website Link
23 September (5 events) 
Deaf Market (10am – 3pm)
Front Oval, Deaf Children Australia
597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne Victoria
Download Flyer here
Adelaide Celebration (10am – 12 noon) 
University of South Australia
Jeffery Smart Building, Level 1, Hindley Street, Adelaide, South Australia
For catering purpose, please RSVP
Download Flyer here
Deaf Community BBQ (11am – 4pm) 
South Australian Museum Front Lawns
North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia
Download Flyer here
Auslan Guided Tours (11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm)
South Australian Museum
North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia
Tours have limited spaces available per sessions, register for a tour when arrive.
Download Flyer here
Family Picnic Day (10 am – 3pm) 
Jo Whearley All Abilities Play Space
Esplande, Dalkeith, Western Australia
Free admission, BYO – BBQ
Download Flyer here
25 September 
Professional Evening with Dr Paddy Ladd (6pm – 8pm) 
University of Western Australia
Alexander Lecture Theatre
Admission fee applies
Download Flyer here
27 September (2 events) 
The Silent Child (Open – Captioned), followed by Deaf Awareness (4.30pm – 6.00pm)
Mirboo North Library
Ridgeway, Mirboo North, Victoria 3871
Free – booking essential
Download Flyer here
Alpha (Open – Captioned) (6pm for 7 pm start) 
Hoyts Carousel
1382 Albany Highway, Cannington, Western Australia
Admission fee applies
Download Flyer here
28 September 
May the Best Team Win! (6.30pm – 10.30pm) 
Tuart Hill Community Centre
164 Cape Street, Tuart Hill, Western Australia
Admission fee applies
Download Flyer here
29 September 
Bindi Bindi Dreaming Workshop (10am – 1pm) 
Tuart Hill Community Centre
164 Cape Street, Tuart Hill, Western Australia
Admission fee applies
Additional information here

Deaf Acknowledgement Survey

Deaf Australia is conducting a survey on Deaf Acknowledgment.
The survey includes three (3) versions of the Deaf Acknowledgement and are asking the members of the Deaf Community to select one. The version with a majority will then go to Annual General Meeting on 27 October 2018 (Canberra) to vote for Deaf Acknowledgement.
Please go to Survey Monkey and complete the Survey (survey includes Auslan videos).
Survey close on Friday 19 October 2018 at midnight.
Thank you.

Hearing Health as National Health Priority – Not Supported

Media Release – Hearing Health Priority not Supported – 17 Aug 2018
The Australian Government has responded to and do not support a recommendation from the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport’s Report in making Hearing Health as National Health Priority. However, the Australian Government recognised there are number of issues of national importance.
3.9 million of Australians have some form of deafness in varying degrees. This large number is a significant concern where there are insufficient infrastructure and transparency of providers comes into the equation costing hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars over the last decade.
Deaf Australia acknowledge the needs for a more cohesive and mainstream system that calls for better accountability and fairness for everyone. However, Deaf Australia is extremely disappointed that the Committee’s view of Auslan (Sign Language) is consigned to interpreting support and not as a language or communication mode that will enhance a persons’ wellbeing whilst reinforcing deafness as medical model of disability.
The Committee’s lack of understanding of the social model is reflected in the language and recommendations.

  • The focus on deafness as a hearing deficit rather than, as it for members of Deaf Australia, an essential part of linguistic and cultural identity;
  • The Committee’s use of ‘Development Delay’ refers the development of speech and listening’ rather than overall development;
  • The lack of reference to cognitive delay and social delay caused by lack of exposure to accessible language (e.g. signed language); and
  • There is no recommendation for deaf people aged over 65, who cannot access NDIS and therefore have extremely limited access to sign language interpreting and therefore to participation in the broader community.

In addition, the Australian Government supports the Committee’s recommendation that listening and speech language therapy, and speech pathology be included in the Medicare Benefits.
Deaf Australia fails to understand why these services be included in the Medicare Benefits as they do not eliminate, reduce or minimise person’s hearing loss. Like Auslan, these services are communication tools and strategies that enables the individual to effectively communicate with others and does not necessarily improve the person’s hearing health or wellbeing, therefore, these services are not medical services. For this reason, Deaf Australia request the Australian Government to reverts its support.
Australian hearing system is already very much focused on supporting parents of deaf children to learn to speak and listen, yet where is the informed decision making for parents of deaf children, when even this Committee fails to recognised the social model of disability and the inherent benefits of sign language for deaf people?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Australia is a signatory, gives deaf people the right to sign language, the right to participate in the community, the right to access information in our sign language – yet our Government, despite the implementation of the NDIS, is still stuck in a 1950s- era understanding of disability,” said Mr Kyle Miers, Chief Executive of Deaf Australia. “Australia’s commitment to ‘hearing health’ simply cannot be considered fair or equitable when deaf adults, and deaf children and their parents, are subject to a purely medical model of disability, which privileges hearing and speech over access to sign language.
Deaf Australia is calling the Australian Government to ensure that all deaf adults, and all deaf children and their parents, have access to Auslan, have access to health information in Auslan, and are provided with objective and impartial information about deafness and the deaf community, based on social model of disability.
Australian Government Response to the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport
Supplementary Information: Appendix 1

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