3 References: Legislation and Information

3 References: Legislation and Information

The information in this section is provided to assist with the application of this Guidance.

There is both national and international legislation to ensure non-discrimination including in the provision of services, and increasingly, national and international guidance on the steps industry can take to achieve equality in accessibility.

The references in this section are provided as a background indicating that this Guidance is part of a greater body of work in terms of accessibility to communications technologies.

As well as legislation, some industry participants and consumer organisations have developed Disability Action Plans, Guides or Manuals which outline best practice procedures for consulting with people with disabilities. 

3.1 Relevant Australian Legislation

3.1.1    Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)

The Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) provides protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability. It encourages everyone to be involved in implementing the Act and to share in the overall benefits to the community and the economy that flow from participation by the widest range of people.

Disability discrimination happens when people with disabilities are treated less fairly than people without a disability.

A brief guide to the Disability Discrimination Act may be accessed online at the website for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

3.1.2    Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (Cth)

The Act provides for a universal service regime which consists of the universal service obligation (USO). The purpose of the USO is to ensure that all people in Australia, wherever they reside or carry on business, should have reasonable access, on an equitable basis, to the standard telephone service, payphones and prescribed carriage services.

3.1.3    Telecommunications (Equipment for the Disabled) Regulations 1998

These regulations specify the type of equipment that may be supplied for connection to the standard telephone service by people with disabilities.

3.2 Relevant Australian Information

3.2.1    Relevant Communications Alliance Consumer Documents

Communications Alliance Standards, Codes and Guidelines are available from http://www.commsalliance.com.au/Documents . The relevant documents are the:

(a)    Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code (C628:2012)

(b)    Information on Accessibility Features for Telephone Equipment Code (C625:2009)

(c)    Operational Matrices for Reporting on Accessibility Features for Telephone Equipment (G627:2011)

3.2.2    Disability Action Plans and Good Practice Guides

(a)    Australian Mobile Telephone Association (AMTA) Mobile Phone Industry Good Practice Guide: Accessibility for People with Disabilities

(b)    the Optus Disability Action Plan can be accessed via the Optus Disability Service webpage

(c)    the Telstra Disability Action Plan can be accessed via the Telstra Disability Service webpage

3.2.3    Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

(a)    Disability Action Plans are lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

(b)    Guidelines for Meeting the Communication Needs of People who are Deaf or have a Hearing Impairment.

NOTE:  It is important that the communication needs of Deaf people are met. A range of communication methods are used according to the nature of the hearing impairment, and it is necessary to use the one that is most appropriate in any given interactive situation. Deafness Forum of Australia has published Guidelines to assist in this process.

For further information go to the Deafness Forum website.

3.2.4    Australian Information on Plain English:

NOTE: It is important to write documents in plain English so that as many people as possible can understand the meaning of the documents.

For advice on writing in Plain English, go to the Plain Language Australia website.