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New accessible purchasing rules for government

In great news for people with disability, last month the Australian Government announced that all levels of government will adopt an internationally aligned standard for purchasing websites, software and digital devices.

This means that, when governments buy products and services, they must be accessible. This has a particular benefit for people with disability who work in government. And it offers an exciting opportunity to encourage growth and development in the IT sector.

All of the companies that develop software for government – including the big guns like Microsoft and IBM – will now need to provide accessible software.

We know from experience that the lack of accessibility of software in the workplace is a huge barrier to employment for many people with disability. Or, for those people who are employed, they might face issues with software that prevent them from carrying out their jobs independently, even if they have assistive software installed.

So, this is a great step forward for inclusion in our country.

Of course, we’ll be keen to learn how it stacks up in practice, and it will be the feedback of people with disability that will tell the real story.

The standard that Australia will follow is called ‘Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services’ and it is mandated in Europe. You can read the full standard here.

And you can read the government media release here.