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Boosting Internet access for people with disabilities.

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Media Release



Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate




The Minister for Communications, Informat ion Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, today announced AccessAbility grants of $1.44 million to improve access to the internet and online services for people with disabilities.


'The AccessAbility program has been embraced by organisations representing and assisting people with disabilities from across Australia - with many projects targetting strategic issues, such as skills development or electronic commerce,' Senator Alston said.


'The 14 projects to receive funding will build on the success of last year's first funding round, which increased our understanding of the access issues faced by people with disabilities in using public access facilities and in getting information from the internet or using internet-based services.


'The level of collaboration between projects funded last year has been inspirational, and has demonstrated that Australia is internationally ahead of the rest of the world in this area.'


Projects funded today include:


•   Vision Australia Foundation, in collaboration with TAFE institutions in regional areas, will pilot internet training strategies for people who are blind and vision-impaired. This will allow people in regional areas with disabilities to access training more readily.


•   Ability Research Centre will trial a process of assessing the assistive technology needs of people with disabilities via videoconferencing, enabling these crucial services which are commonly available in cities, to be extended to people in regional and rural Australia.


The selection of the 14 successful projects was undertaken by an assessment panel of independent experts, covering the interests of both users and suppliers.


AccessAbility is administered by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. More information can be found on the website at


Media Contact: Terry O'Connor, Minister's office 02 6277 7480





21 October 1999



AccessAbility Round 2 - Successful Applications

Ability Research Centre Assistive Technology Assessments Online


Description: Research project to test the viability of conducting assessments of assistive technology requirements via teleconferencing. This would allow services commonly available in urban areas to be provided to people in remote locations. (NSW urban & regional)


Mr Graeme Smith, 02 9809 7466 Grant: $99,465

Deakin University, Institute of Disability Studies

Enabling Online Access Through Training: Multiweb & Multimail


Description: MultiWeb is a free World Wide Web browser, which provides access to Internet documents for people with a disability. It incorporates technology which meets the needs of people with different disabilities within a single, generic software package. Funding is being provided to upgrade the MultiWeb browser and MultiMail email package to a 32 bit software environment and to develop a best-practice training package to assist Australians with disabilities and those who assist them to successfully set up and use MultiWeb and MultiMail. (National via website and face to face in VIC, NSW and Qld and Rural areas via website and email.)


Ms Janet Owens, 03 9244 6478 Grant: $86,463

Macquarie University, Speech, Hearing & Langu age Research Centre

Enhancing Internet Activities and Reading Skills of Individuals with Disability


Description: Funding will extend the work of a successful AccessAbility project Web Access for Literacy Development in Individuals with a Disability to include individuals who have more severe disabilities. (National via website, face to face in NSW and VIC.)


Dr Teresa Iacono, 03 5797 3010 Grant: $106,599

Monash University and Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT)

Literacy Online for People with Physical and Intellectual Disabilities: Through Sports, Arts and Recreation and 2. Literacy On-line for Deaf People: Through Sports, Arts and Recreation


Description: This project will examine literacy barriers to the Internet and will develop models of best practice for the design of Websites which can aid traditional, visual/graphical and information literacy, at the same time as catering for the interests of client groups. The project has two distinct streams, one focusing on the needs of Deaf people and the other focusing on the needs of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. (VIC, and national via website.)


Dr Kirsty Williamson, 03 9903 1083 Grant: $295,252

Muscular Dystrophy Association Inc. "MD-Net!" -Enhancement - Awareness Raising Program


Description: A national Internet network was established with funding from AccessAbility Round 1, for people affected by Muscular Dystrophy or one of the 50 related Neuromuscular disorders. Funding has been granted to raise awareness about the existing MD-Net! project in the MD community, the medical profession and government departments responsible for delivery of disability support programs. (VIC based national awareness raising campaign.)


Mr Boris Struk, 03 9370 0477 Grant: $6,500

RVIB, Royal Victo rian Institute for the Blind Accessible Virtual Library .


Description: Funding is being provided to design a software package which, in association with standard Internet browser applications, will allow a user to conduct searches of any on-line library system & return the results in a form easily accessible to the vision impaired. (VIC and national via website.)


Mr Les Wallis, 03 9522 5279 Grant: $83,340

The Deaf Blind Association (DBA) National Extension of "The Link" Computer and Internet Access Training Program for People Who are DeafBlind .


Description: Funding to extend the benefits of the successful 'Link' resource to people outside Victoria, by providing Internet training for interstate people with deafblindness and a train the trainer program for their support people and TAFE trainers in each State. (National -all states; VIC based.)


Ms Meryle Trentini, 03 9488 4205 Grant: $94,925

Vision Australia Foundation Enhancing Access for People with Vision Impairment to Information Technology Training


Description: To develop best practice information technology training for people who are vision impaired, in collaboration with TAFE institutions across Australia. This will extend the availability of such training to people in regional areas. (National, with pilots in: VIC, Qld and NT.)


Dr Brian Hardy, 03 9864 9525 Grant: $84,000

University of QLD, Communications Disability in Aging Research Unit Web Training Package for People with Communication and Literacy Disabilities


Description: Funding is being provided to refine the iconic training manual successfully developed for people with aphasia in the Round 1 project (to extend its usefulness to people with other communication disabilities), to develop a train-the-trainer manual and to market these products to support organisations around Australia.


Dr Linda Worrall, 07 3365 2891 Grant: $64,815

Blind Citizens Australia Accessible E-Commerce (Stage two)


Description: BCA will build on the information gathered in the first investigatory stage of this e-commerce research, and investigate Internet-based e-commerce applications, online shopping and online banking (including ATMs). Funding is also being provided for awareness raising and standards work. (National.)


Mr William Jolley, 03 9521 3433 Grant: $65,725

Ipswich Community Service and Research Centre, University of QLD Ipswich Accessibility Partnership


Description: This project will train school leavers with a cognitive disability in the use of computers and access to the Internet, set up an online user group for school leavers with a cognitive disability, and train 'graduates' to become trainers/mentors for future classes. The project will look at the potential for this model to be used for school leavers with other disabilities. (Qld- Ipswich urban and regional.)


Mr Bruce Muirhead, 07 3381 1512 Grant: $90,890

Independent Living Centre of WA Facilitating the Development of Literacy Skills in Adolescents/Young Adults with Multiple and/or Cognitive Impairments Through the Use of Computer Games


Description: This project will use age-appropriate computer games as the key tool in facilitating the development of the literacy skills needed for online competency in a population that is currently lacking appropriate tools and opportunities. Adolescents and young adults with disabilities very much want to participate in the same types of activities as their peers, and the use of computer games provides a highly motivating tool for the development of literacy, numeracy and online skills . (WA and national via website.)


Ms Sharon Osborne, 08 9382 2011 Grant: $87,784

VICSERV, Psychiatric Disability Services of Victoria Face to Face


Description: In an extension to a project funded in Round 1, VICSERV will develop an online model for training and supporting people with psychiatric disabilities to use the Internet. (VIC and national via internet.)


Mr David Clarke, 03 9482 7111 Grant: $72,000

VICDeaf, Victorian Deaf Society Deaf Australia Online (2)


Description: This is the second stage of the Deaf Australia Online project, funded in Round 1 The aims of the project are to better understand the approach to raising awareness and skilling members of the Deaf community in the use of online services, and to conduct and evaluate trials of prototype a range of promising technical options highlighted in the Round 1 investigation. The Round 1 Deaf Australia Online project focused on the needs of Deaf people who use Auslan. This project will be expanded to include the needs of hard of hearing people. (VIC and various other states.. -National via internet.)


Mr Bill Ford, 03 9657 8111 Grant: $204,175

TOTAL: $1,441,933



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