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No sales tax on TV decoding devices for deaf



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FROM THE AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR HEALTH THE HON. NEAL BLEWETT

NO SALES TAX ON TV DECODING DEVICES FOR DEAF

People with medically-certified impaired hearing will be able to purchase Teletext and Videotex decoding devices for their television sets free of sales tax.

The Federal Minister for Health, Dr Neal Blewett, said today the decision by the Commonwealth Government to exempt the devices from sales tax was a major break through for the deaf and hearing-impaired and went a long way towards correcting the inequitable situation which had prevailed for

them regarding television access.

Dr Blewett said Teletext technology provided electronic data either in the form of Supertext subtitles or pages of information on a home television screen and enabled deaf and hearing-impaired people to understand and enjoy television programs when they could not hear all sound levels clearly.

He said an increasing number of television programs were now broadcast with Supertext subtitles which were provided by the Australian Caption Centre in Sydney. The service was transmitted in every capital city and many regional areas.

Dr Blewett said for a sales tax exemption to be gained, a doctor or National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) officer must certify that the person buying the equipment was severely hearing-impaired.

Application then had to be made to the Commonwealth Department of Health in the relevant State for approval and processing.

The Minister said the Department of Health had distributed sales tax exemption forms to organisations representing the deaf, medical practitioners, NAL hearing centres and the Australian Caption Centre.

The Department of Health and the Taxation Office would assist with any inquiries about eligibility and the sales tax exemption procedures. .

The Minister said the Australian Caption Centre would act as a consumer advisory body for its Supertext subtitling service, and would give advice on Teletext decoding equipment and the availability of subtitles programs.

Canberra, 2 November 1984