Hello, I am Todd Wright, Chairperson of Deaf Australia.
I wish to express on behalf of Deaf Australia our appreciation and gratitude to the members of the Deaf Community who have actively worked hard to increase awareness about emergency announcements not being fully accessible, especially for the government to be mindful that they need to provide accessible information.
Thank you for your support, and specifically the Auslan Access Media group led by Shirley Liu and other members, who took the initiative of establishing this campaign.
Deaf Australia has relied on volunteers in the past to help us achieve our objectives and we certainly hope that there will be more volunteers who will rally and work collaboratively to make positive change for our community.
Without volunteers, achieving our goals becomes harder.
We wish to acknowledge and express gratitude for those who have worked hard in a positive way. There is always some risk with our community expressing anger in the wrong way – which can cause negative impact to the campaign. When this happens, governments and other stakeholders will focus on the negativity only and will ignore this as they do not want to deal with negativity.
It is important to remain positive and empower people to advocate in the right way.
Collecting examples of when there is no interpreter shown on screen during emergency announcements are a perfect way to positively demonstrate why the issue must be addressed and why the current system is failing us. When we have sufficient evidence, we can initiate positive dialogue with the government and broadcasters to ensure that access to information can be achieved.
We must include not only television, but also the internet in our dialogue.
In the future, television will phase out, and the internet will play an important role in our access to information. Television is regulated through legislation (Broadcasting Services Act) which requires broadcasters to make contents accessible, while internet have fewer protections and legislation for accessible information which makes it harder to establish standards.
Deaf Australia will keep monitoring the internet as our key point in accessible information in the near future.
When establishing campaign groups, it is important that the groups are established in an efficient and effective way. Sometimes, campaigns require to consider what our long term goals are when we achieve a positive response which does not fully meet our expectations. This will allow us to continue with negotiations and compromising for short term improvements in accessibility and working to eventually fulfil our goals, which takes time.
I remember when I was involved in lobbying for more access to open-captioned cinemas. We lobbied long and hard for this and at the end we were provided with a solution using Capti-view which did not meet the expectations for many deaf people. In hindsight, perhaps the deaf community should have accepted the initial offer for some open captioned cinemas to be established.
Upon reflecting past experiences, it is always good to remember to focus on positive outcomes, and to continue negotiating for better opportunities. We cannot assume or expect that they will give what we expect straight-away. We need to be resilient and keep reminding them, and never give up.
As a group, we can make a change. As an individual, it is hard to make a change.
It is important that we all work together to achieve our access, our objectives by collaborating and supporting each other.
We really appreciate your support. Thank you.