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Depts Challenged To Make Information Accessible

Minister Challenges Depts To Make Information Accessible

Minister for Disability Issues Ruth Dyson today issued a challenge to all government departments and agencies to make their information accessible to people with disabilities.

Launching the discussion document for the New Zealand Disability Strategy at Parliament, Ms Dyson said the document identified the need for public information to be available in forms which met the different communication needs of people with disabilities.

"It is high time we recognised that many people with disabilities can’t participate fully in their communities because they can't get the information they need in the form they need it. It may be information about changes to legislation, government policy or access to services."

Ms Dyson said she was delighted that the Ministry of Health had set up a separate website for the disability strategy, which had been specially designed for people with disabilities. The website had been approved as accessible by a free Web-based tool called "Bobby", which analyses Web pages for their accessibility to people with disabilities.

Ms Dyson said other government departments should follow the same example.
"I challenge all government departments to look at the public information they provide from the point of view of people with disabilities. They need to consider alternative formats such as audio, large print, and sign language wherever possible, and ensure their web sites can be accessed and easily navigated by all users."

The discussion document for the NZ Disability Strategy seeks public feedback on how the Government can remove the barriers which prevent people with disabilities from participating in society. More than 40 workshops will be held around the country, before the strategy is finalised early next year.


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