Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 - Guide Dogs NSW/ACT
Giant Call to NDIS – Don’t Leave Vision Impaired People in the Dark

The world’s biggest guide dog “Gulliver” will tour eastern Australia for the next two months to ensure that the National Disability Insurance Scheme doesn’t overlook people with vision impairment.

The giant roadshow starts today in Sydney with the launch of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s NDIS: A Vision for All campaign.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is seeking 10,000 signatures in support of its call for the government to ensure that the NDIS funds orientation and mobility services, including canes and guide dogs, that enable people whose functional mobility is affected by vision loss to be independent.

“Vision loss is a challenging disability and it’s on the rise,” said Dr Graeme White, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. “Without these services, people with vision loss become disconnected from their community, dependent on others to get around and are at a higher risk of accidents and depression .

“With the number of NSW and ACT residents aged over 40 with vision loss projected to reach 100,000 by 2020 , NDIS funding will be critical to enabling us to meet growing demand for our vital services.”

The NDIS: A Vision for All ambassador is Australian Paralympian Jenny Blow, who will compete in goalball in London next month with her green and gold cane by her side. Jenny leaves for London on Friday 17 August.

Jenny says the orientation and mobility training she has received from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT since a teenager has been “invaluable”.

“Without this training I wouldn’t be able to confidently and independently travel interstate and overseas to train and compete,” said 21-year-old Jenny, whose vision is affected by a condition called Oculocutaneous Albinism.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT plans to present its campaign signatures to the Federal Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin, NSW Minister for Disability Services Andrew Constance and ACT Minister for Community Services Joy Burch on International White Cane Day, Monday 15 October.

Regardless of the outcome of the NDIS, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will always need the community’s generosity to fund its various services and aids, including:
• the free provision of all orientation and mobility services and guide dogs to people aged 66 years and over who won’t be eligible to receive services covered by the NDIS; and
• the free provision of secondary aids like electronic travel devices including the Mobile Geo and Trekker Breeze talking GPS technology and hand-held radar devices called Miniguides.

To support Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s call for the NDIS to fund orientation and mobility services, please register online at www.visionloss.org.au or call 1800 804 805 for a form and more information.

ENDS

MEDIA: Please contact: Sally Edgar, 0413 753 241 or [email protected]

1.Clear Focus: The Economic Impact of Vision Loss in Australia in 2009. Access Economics report published in June 2010 by Vision2020
2. The Clear Focus report found that in 2009, 234,000 Australians over the age of 40 had vision loss, including being blind, with this figure to increase to 800,000 by 2020. Guide Dogs NSW/ACT estimates that in 2009 more than 70,000 NSW and ACT residents had vision loss, including being blind, with this figure estimated to increase to nearly 100,000 by 2020.

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Guide Dogs NSW/ACT


ABOUT GUIDE DOGS NSW/ACT
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is the leading provider of orientation and mobility services to enable people with impaired vision to get around their communities independently. Services include providing information, assessment, training and aids including long canes and guide dogs and electronic travel devices such as talking GPS technology. Visit www.guidedogs.com.au, call 1800 804 805, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Sally Edgar
P: 0413 753 241
W: visionloss.org.au/

Keywords

vision loss, vision impaired, orientation and mobility

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