Ahead of the federal election this month, the Australian Labor Party have committed 4 million dollars to assisting national broadcasters in implementing audio description on television.
In a media release titled TV For All Australians Under Labor, Michelle Rowland (Shadow Minister for Communications) and Senator Carol Brown (Shadow Minister for Disability and Carers) acknowledged that:
“Australia is the only English-speaking country in the OECD yet to provide audio description – an additional feature that describes the visual elements happening on screen that sighted people take for granted. This is shameful.
Australians living with blindness or low vision should have equal access to television, and our national broadcasters should lead the way in delivering audio description in Australia.”
The media release goes on to identify how the Labor Party intends to address this problem if they are elected:
“Labor acknowledges the financial and technical challenges that implementation of audio description may involve for some television broadcasters.
That is why a Shorten Labor Government will work constructively with the wider broadcast industry to develop a framework and timetable for the implementation of audio description by commercial and subscription services.
In accordance with the co-regulatory system of broadcast regulation, and in the event the framework and timetable is not satisfactorily implemented, Labor will move to legislate for audio description.”
The Australian federal election will be held on May 18, 2019.