Special thanks to Derp reader My Say for bringing this to my attention.
From July 1, all TV channels, including subscription services (FoxTel), will have to provide better access to those with a hearing impairment. The Bill, which passed through parliament yesterday, amends the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to introduce new and boost existing requirements for captioning on all TV platforms. It includes measures to improve the readability, comprehensibility and accuracy of captioning.
In something that should’ve been introduced years ago, the bill also ensures better access to emergency warnings for the hearing impaired.
Senator Conroy said:
“Access to television is important to all members of our community, including those with a hearing impairment. These changes will help the more than five million Australians who are expected to be affected by hearing loss by 2020.”
“Captioning helps people with a hearing impairment by providing the text version of speech and other sounds during television broadcasts.”
“The passage of the Bill demonstrates the Government’s commitment to increasing media access for everyone. It is consistent with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, as well as Australia’s international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”.
These new requirements come into effect from 1 July 2012. Read the official media release from Senator Conroy here.
This new policy is just one of the many “little” things this government is doing to make life easier, and more equitable for ordinary Australians. It is estimated that around 5 million Australians will suffer some form of hearing impairment by 2020, so it is necessary to get it off the ground to overcome a growing problem.
Once again, a tip of the hat to My Say for bringing this to my attention.