Australia adopts procurement standard for accessible ICT

David Masters, Corporate Affairs Manager and Accessibility lead, Microsoft Australia

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, people with a disability are almost twice as likely to be unemployed and half as likely to have a full time job in comparison to people without a disability in Australia.

Ensuring that people with a disability have the tools and technology that they need to be productive and fulfilled members of the workforce is critical to improving this imbalance.

That is why Microsoft warmly welcomes the announcement from the Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann and Standards Australia that Australia will adopt the European standard for the procurement of accessible ICT (EN 301 549).

Thanks to a strong partnership across Government, industry, disability advocacy groups and community organisations – Australia becomes the first country outside of Europe to adopt this emerging international standard.

The Australian standard will be known as Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services.

This announcement clears the path for the standard to eventually be embedded into public procurement requirements to improve outcomes for people with a disability working in public sector agencies.

EN 301 549 also provides an excellent benchmark for private sector organisations looking to ensure that technology products and services that they buy are usable by people with a disability in their workplaces.

We congratulate Standards Australia and the proponents of the standard, particularly the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the Federal Department of Finance and the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) for this initiative.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. With close to 4 million Australians (and 1.2 billion people worldwide) with a disability, we’re passionate about ensuring that our products and services are designed for people of all abilities.

We’re also working hard to ensure that our products comply with emerging global standards. You can find our growing list of conformance statements against EN 301 549 here.

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