Disability action plan

Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy, which required each of them to have in place a disability action plan. In 2007–08, reporting by executive agencies on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission's State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin (available at www.apsc.gov.au). From 2010–11, departments and agencies were no longer required to report on these functions.

As this department is not subject to the Australian Public Service Commission reporting requirements, the department continued to support the elimination of disability discrimination through the following measures:

  • the Committee Office has completed a trial of a service to convert committee submissions to HTML format to assist visually impaired people
  • departmental staff had access to information on the types of services and equipment available to assist people with disability, and to the relevant contact details to obtain assistance
  • committee secretariat staff had information, or could source information, about disability access to venues outside Parliament House
  • disability groups were notified, as appropriate, of committee inquiries that were directly relevant to their members
  • recruitment applicants and participants in committee inquiries, occasional lectures and Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) programs were invited to identify any special needs and steps were taken to accommodate them
  • PEO role-play programs cater for the needs of students with hearing difficulties, colour blindness and intellectual disabilities.

Figure 21 describes the facilities, publications and services that the department provided in 2011–12 to assist members of the public with disability.

Figure 21: Assistance for members of the public who have disability


captioning of the televised proceedings of the Senate chamber, with functions for changing font size, colour and style of captions to enhance readability

access to a teletypewriter (TTY) facility through the Parliament House switchboard for people with a hearing or speech impairment
a link from the committees homepage to accessibility information and resources that assist visually impaired people to access documents
audio loops for people attending the department's occasional lectures and committee hearings in Parliament House
special parking arrangements for people attending occasional lectures and committee hearings
seating available in waiting areas for people with disability
Publications committee documents (such as reports, submissions and Hansards) available online and in hard copy
Senate and departmental information available online in formats that aid user access, downloading and printing, with layouts and font sizes which can be manipulated by visually impaired people
access through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Australia's Public Affairs Channel to broadcasts of selected occasional lectures
live audio broadcasts of most interstate committee public hearings were available
occasional lecture transcripts available in hard copy and as video and audio files on the internet
email contact details or internet addresses on publications and publicity materials and details of the TTY service on committee webpage ‘How to make a submission'
Services interpreter services for witnesses attending committee hearings and for students attending PEO programs
a personal escort for people with disability attending departmental seminars and occasional lectures
national relay service utilised by PEO for contact with hearing or visually impaired people
transcription facility available to assist visually impaired people to prepare submissions to committee inquiries
a service, on request, to convert committee submissions to HTML format to assist visually impaired people