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Deaf Australia Update – June 2015


Deaf Australia Board would like to announce few important messages to our members and the deaf/ hard of hearing community.

As many of you are aware, the Department of Social Services (DSS) – A Department of Commonwealth Government – has defunded Deaf Australia in favour of supporting five cross-disability organisations.
This means that Deaf Australia’s funding will end on 30 June 2015 and will not be renewed by the Government. From 1 July 2015, Deaf Australia will be run entirely by volunteers.
Over the last 6 months, Deaf Australia has been focusing on a number of key areas to ensure the existence and sustainability of Deaf Australia. These are:

  • Closure of Head Office: Deaf Australia’s head office in Brisbane has closed and resources have been relocated to Melbourne. Our new postal address can be found on the Deaf Australia website.
  • The Auslan Shop: Our brand new Auslan Shop website remains open and is available for online purchases. The Auslan Shop now accepts payments through PayPal to make it easier for us to process the orders and for you to get your products faster. Some popular products can be viewed in person before buying, if required, at certain locations around Australia. Please check out auslanshop.deafaustralia.org.au for more information.
  • Membership Renewal/ New Members: Current Deaf Australia memberships are now due for renewal. Please note there have been some important changes in the membership structure – joining / renewal fee is now $100.00 for deaf/hard of hearing and hearing people.
    • Deaf/ hard of hearing: $100.00 one off life-time membership
    • Hearing: $100.00 – every 5 years
    • Corporate: $250.00 every year 

For more information about Membership fees and renewals, please visit www.deafaustralia.org.au/membership.

  • Deaf Friendly: This program is an initiative of Deaf Australia, intended to create an inclusive society for deaf people by linking the deaf community to businesses and organisations that have deaf / hard of hearing staff or hearing staff with good Auslan skills.

If you are a member of Deaf Australia, it is FREE to register to access the Deaf Friendly scheme. To get Deaf Friendly status, please go to www.deaf-friendly.com and complete your registration (the one registration form and payment covers both Deaf Friendly AND your membership to Deaf Australia).

  • World Federation of the Deaf: Todd Wright and Kyle Miers will attend the WFD Congress in Istanbul Turkey at end of July 2015. Deaf Australia will present the Deaf Friendly initiative to members of the World Federation of the Deaf and propose a new international symbol of sign language. 
  • Deaf Youth Australia: Deaf Youth Australia is recognised as an ordinary member of World Federation of the Deaf Youth Sector and will be sending two youth delegates: Shirley Liu and Olwyne Ho.
  • Jeenee Mobile: Deaf Australia entered into a partnership with Jeenee Mobile to offer data/text only mobile plans for deaf people. Jeenee Mobile also have other plans that may be suitable for deaf/ head of hearing people, eg, voice/data/ and text plan. Deaf Australia received donations for Jeenee Mobile for every person who signs up to a plan using the copdeword. Please quote codeword ‘DeafAu’ when applying: jeeneemobile.org.au

Advocacy activities:

Please note that from 30 June 2015, many of the advocacy activities will be limited to the capacity of a volunteer organisation. If you have any concerns or issues, you should email us at [email protected] and Deaf Australia will redirect your inquiry to the relevant organisation(s) and keep a record of your matter. We will still advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people as much as possible.
Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA): Kyle Miers and Dr Breda Carty represented Deaf Australia at ACARA’s scoping workshop that is responsible for the development of the Auslan curriculum for primary and secondary schools. ACARA expects to complete the curriculum by December 2016.
Deaf People Serving on Juries: There are several developments in this area.

  1. Court of Appeal in Queensland – Gaye Lyons has appealed against the tribunal case in Queensland on 20 May 2015. It is expected that the judges will determine the outcome within 3 months of the date. Deaf Australia attended the appeal. We will give an update when the case is decided.
  2. Deaf Jurors Project – the University of New South Wales will be presenting their findings on 15 July 2015. Their preliminary findings have indicated that deaf people are capable of serving as jurors.
  3. Victorian Disability Advisory Council (VDAC) – the Deaf Jury issue is on the agenda and is awaiting the outcome of the Deaf Jurors Project and Queensland Court of Appeal decision.

Disability Employment Framework: There is a current consultation in the community about the Disability Employment Framework. Deaf Australia has conducted a review on Disability Employment Services last year and will be reinforcing the issue of communication access and skilled knowledge of deafness for deaf job seekers and disability employment service providers.
Australasian Railway Association (ARA): The Australian Human Rights Commission has sought our opinion on ARA’s request for exemption of discrimination. Deaf Australia will be responding with this advice. Deaf Australia does not support the exemption.
Commercial Divers License: Deaf Australia has been approached by an organisation that wish to work alongside Deaf Australia to campaign Governments (both state and federal Governments) to remove discrimination for deaf people from acquiring (or being forced to accept restrictions on) commercial drivers licenses (truck drivers, taxi, or other paid positions). We received a favourable response from the Australian Human Rights Commission and several ministers (state organisations) who agreed with our position.
Deaf Australia would like to acknowledge Deaf Victoria’s submission (2014), which was used to strengthen our position for discrimination.
Australian Electoral Commission’s Disability Advisory Group: Deaf Australia has been involved with the Australian Electoral Commission over the years. We have agreed that communication guidelines will be developed to support delivering information to all consumers more effectively after identifying that each of the state/ territory and commonwealth agencies have different (and inconsistent) approaches to inclusive information. Deaf Australia will lead this development.
ABC News: Deaf Australia provided some comments to journalists regarding the CaptiView system and explained our belief that there is more work that needs to be done to ensure deaf patrons are happy with their cinema experience. For more about this article, please view here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-02/deaf-people-critical-of-movie-captioning-service/6512914.
Early Intervention: Deaf Australia is close to finalising the position statement: ‘Requirements on Early Intervention for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in Australia’. This document is developed in collaboration with various stakeholders including: The Shepard Centre, Parents of Deaf Children, Aussie Deaf Kids, Deaf Children Australia, Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children, National Association of Australian Teachers of the Deaf, community members, and parents of deaf children.


  • Carla Anderson (AM) (Vic) – Received the Australian Honours Award during the Queen’s Birthday for her significant contribution to the deaf-blind community through advocacy, support and service delivery roles.
  • Jonathon Powyer (NSW) – Received High Achieving Referee with a Difference Award in NSW Touch Football Association Referees Awards.
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