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Read about the impacts of a sale of Australian Hearing on children and families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, adults with complex needs and the future of hearing research in Australia.  Take the link


Future of Deafness Forum

Members and Friends,

The Department of Social Services has announced that Deafness Forum of Australia will not be funded by the federal government after February 2015.

Deafness Forum’s application for continued funding was part of a credible and strong consortium of disability organisations that represents more than 90% of Australians with disability.  Together, the consortium members have over 200 years of expertise.

Some national disability organisations will close their doors; others will make drastic reductions to their advocacy roles.

We shall appeal the government's decision and actively seek other sources of funding; and we will find ways to make further savings to maintain our advocacy activities for as long as possible.

In our view, this decision will significantly inhibit the government’s reform agenda for people with disability, including efforts to increase economic participation and the resultant benefits to all Australians.

Much has been achieved in our 21 years history, but there is more to be done.

We can see evidence of the problem with a generic approach to disability in the shortcomings of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which ignores the needs of the majority of people we represent.

A crucial public asset, Australian Hearing may be sold.  The government must be persuaded to ensure that services to vulnerable Australians are maintained or enhanced, and that the research undertaken by the National Acoustic Laboratories continues.

The government plans to wind-back television captioning regulations.  The changes would overwhelmingly benefit TV broadcasters but strongly disadvantage consumers by removing protections that safeguard access to quality captioning services.

There is a hidden crisis in hearing loss in community and residential aged care settings.  More than 7 out of 10 older Australians have hearing loss, but the staff who care for them are seldom trained to assist with hearing care.

Progress has been made in the inclusion of Auslan interpreters in the electronic media, but without ongoing monitoring the standards will surely slip.

Moreover, there is a compelling need for a comprehensive and integrated approach to hearing services in this country.

We face a formidable challenge in ensuring there is a national voice for the 4 million Australians who are hearing impaired, Deaf, deafblind, have an ear disorder, and the many families who stand by them.

Yours sincerely
David Brady


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