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Senate calls for Government action on deafness.



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Rachel Siewert Senate calls for Government action on deafness Media Release | Spokesperson Rachel Siewert

Thursday 20th August 2009, 2:28pm

in Family & Community Health & Wellbeing

The Senate has called on the Government to improve services and support for those Australian suffering from a

hearing impairment, supporting a Greens motion on the matter.

"In Australia, one in six people have some form of hearing impairment. Australians who are deaf, have a hearing

impairment, chronic disorder of the ear or are deafblind still experience many forms of discrimination which

prevents them from fulfilling their true potential as citizens of Australia. We need to increase our level of support

for people with a hearing impairment" said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"At the moment, people over the age of 21 are not eligible for a government-funded hearing aid or hearing

services. This significantly impacts on the quality of life for many people with a hearing impairment - it is

important that the Government expand this service to people over the age of 21. I was pleased to see the Senate

support the motion calling on the Government to investigate the feasibility of expanding government-funded

hearing services and aids to those over the age of 21" said Senator Siewert.

"I call on the Government to start such an investigation immediately".

"This week I was proud to host a cross-party supported demonstration of deafness technologies at Parliament

House in Canberra. I hope that, by bringing these technologies directly to the politicians, they can gain a better

understanding of how these issues can impact on the well-being and community participation of those affected."

"There is still a lot of work needed to ensure that those suffering from a hearing impairment are not significantly

disadvantaged in this country. There are ongoing matters of access to technologies, services, hearing aids and

captioning that the Government could address right now."

"I was pleased to see the Senate in agreement of my motion, and strongly urge the Government to take action on

these matters," she concluded.

The motion reads:

That the Senate:

(a) Notes that:

(i) the week beginning Sunday, 23 August 2009 is Hearing Awareness Week

(ii) one in six Australian has some form of hearing impairment, a total of 3.55 million people

(iii) noise injury is the single most common cause of hearing loss, with a total of 37 per cent of hearing loss due to

noise injury

(iv) captioning increases the ability of people with a hearing impairment to access broadcast messages

(b) Calls on the Government to:

(i) ensure access to suitable technologies to assist eligible people with a hearing impairment

(ii) investigate the feasibility of expanding government-funded hearing services and aids to those over the age of

21

(iii) investigate the feasibility of expanding captioning to include all government media

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