You are here

Disability Services - Form Accessibility

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Tags: Disability, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. Last year you were also asked by me and Cassy O'Connor, the Leader of the Greens, about the issue of accessibility for online forms and documents in the Department of Health for people who needed to use it for reading software. You responded and said that this was a work in progress and that THS was working to ensure that all documents are accessible. Tasmania's whole-of-government Accessible Island: Disability Framework for Action 2018 2021, and the THS in 2018, both commit to reviewing the accessibility of forms and documents. Can you please tell me what was the result of this review, and what percentage of forms are now accessible in the health service and, indeed, the whole of government?

Ms COURTNEY - The health service, in particular, would ultimately be a question for Jeremy Rockliff and the Health department secretary.

I know there is consistently a lot of engagement, particularly through the Premier's Disability Advisory Council (PDAC), looking at how we can ensure that government agencies are, I guess, compliant - for want of a better word - with commitments they have made around a range of issues, including online access. I am not sure whether we have any information more broadly to be able to bring to you now. If it is specific about this agency, then I feel confident that either Mr Pervan or Ms Ganley could provide a response. If not here, then on notice, but I cannot comment about other agencies.

Dr WOODRUFF - Isn't there a whole-of-government approach? Would you be responsible, as minister, for ensuring that there is a whole-of-government approach to disability access to software?

Ms COURTNEY - As we implement Accessible Island and the extensive work that continues to be underway with PDAC - and I joined the Premier at the most recent PDAC meeting; there are a range of mechanisms through that by which agencies are held to account on the commitments they have made. It was a constructive forum, and I agree that having accessible documents online is a key part of that, but it is not the only part.

PDAC provides a really constructive forum across a broad range of areas, not only to check that agencies are doing the right thing, but to provide constructive input so we can have that feedback as we implement new policies - whether it is capital, whether it is further investment - through a range of state agencies and GBEs as well. It is a very good forum for information, for sharing ideas, and it comes with a great deal of goodwill from the people who are involved, and generosity of their time, to be able to make improvements.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, you mentioned in response to the question I asked about the accessibility of documents for people with vision impairment that you are working your way through implementing Accessible Island, the disability framework for action 2018-2021. I want to note that it is finishing this year. There is not a lot of time left to implement it. I want to understand the things that were promised. One of the things that was promised was a review of accessibility of online forms. Can you tell whether that review happened? Which agencies it happened within? What was the outcome of the review?

Ms COURTNEY - I stand to be corrected if I am wrong, the governance around Accessible Island runs through PDAC under a whole-of-government approach. That is the Premier's responsibility. Mike or Ingrid might have further information, otherwise it might be better for the Premier. Mike?

Mr PERVAN - Thank you, minister. As the minister indicated its run on a whole-of-government basis. Secretaries of departments are responsible for the implementation and reporting back to PDAC. At the last meeting we were all reporting back. To be honest I can't recall what every agency has done or where they're at but I can tell you that the Department of Communities has completed its review against the national standard of all its online forms and documents and have brought them up to compliance.

My recollection is that most agencies are at that level. Some are still working through. I imagine it would be very challenging for Health because the Health online presence is massive. The most current documents, especially in relation to COVID 19, are all consistent with the national standard. It's the older documents that they're reviewing and bringing up to standard.

Dr WOODRUFF - Recommendation 1.38 was in relation to Auslan and emergency preparedness information. I assume you'll say that's in another ministerial responsibility. Do the national standards include Auslan as well as all the other sorts of appropriately accessible forms of information online?

Ms COURTNEY - On [inaudible] being delivered through different agencies, I'll have to seek advice from them. I'm not sure whether there's some further information that we can provide.

Mr PERVAN - Thank you, minister. If you go into the Tasmanian coronavirus website you'll see there are tabs to select if you want Auslan or you want text or that sort of thing. That's been really well done and coordinated by Mandy Denby, who's on secondment to the State Control Centre. It's quite a brilliant website. As we've seen from the minister's and the Premier's media conferences, there is always an Auslan interpreter there to make sure that the most current changes in the restrictions are being clearly communicated every way possible.