Monday, October 15th, 2012
Across Australia, people are calling for the federal and state governments to fund services for people with vision loss under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Guide Dogs Australia will today celebrate International White Cane Day by presenting more than 19,000 signatures collected from the community to the Federal Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin at Parliament House in Canberra as part of its NDIS: A Vision for All campaign.

Over the past two months, Guide Dogs Australia has been raising awareness about the importance of orientation and mobility services for people whose ability to get around on their own is affected by impaired vision. The campaign has gained thousands of supporters who want to ensure the NDIS does not exclude people with vision impairment.

“Vision loss is a challenging disability and it’s on the rise*,” said Dr Graeme White, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, who will present the signatures to Minister Macklin with Karen Hayes, CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria, on behalf of Guide Dogs Australia.

“The overwhelming support we’ve had from the community highlights how important independence is for people with impaired vision. We look forward to working with the federal and state governments to ensure the NDIS fairly and equitably supports people with vision loss.”

Paralympic gold medallist Lindy Hou, OAM, who uses both a long cane and a guide dog to get around, will also meet Minister Macklin alongside fellow Canberrans Jo Weir and John Barlow, who have impaired vision.

Lindy, who has been legally blind since 1996 due to the degenerative eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa, won gold, silver and bronze for Australia in tandem cycling at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens and silver and bronze in Beijing in 2008.

“Orientation and mobility services are a valuable investment as they enable people like me to be productive and contribute to society without being a burden on others,” says Lindy. “They’ve given me the confidence to pursue my dreams, represent Australia and speak to others about my experiences despite deteriorating vision loss.”

Regardless of the outcome of the NDIS: A Vision for All campaign, Guide Dogs Australia will always need the community’s generosity to fund orientation and mobility services.

To learn more about Guide Dogs Australia’s call for the NDIS to fund services for people with vision loss, please visit or call 1800 804 805.


MEDIA: Please contact: Sally Edgar, 0413 753 241 or

*An Access Economics report commissioned by Vision2020, published in 2010, Clear Focus: The Economic Impact of Vision Loss in Australia in 2009, 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.

Contact Profile

Guide Dogs Australia

Guide Dogs Australia 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, call 1800 804 805, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Sally Edgar
P: 0413 753 241


vision loss, vision impaired, guide dogs, international white cane day, national disability insurance scheme



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