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Credit where credit is due

Commission Commission – General

15 April 2002

Credit where
credit is due
HREOC welcomes banking standards

Disability Discrimination
Commissioner Dr Sev Ozdowski today congratulated the Australian Bankers'
Association (ABA) on the release of new banking industry standards for

The voluntary standards
- covering Automated Teller Machines (ATMs); Electronic Funds Transfer
at the Point of Sale (EFTPOS); Automated Telephone Banking and Internet
Banking - were developed by the ABA following the release of a Human Rights
and Equal Opportunity Commission report on access to e-commerce for older
Australians and people with disabilities.

"Many people
with disabilities will for the first time be able to independently and
privately conduct their financial transactions electronically," Dr
Ozdowski said. "This is something most of us take for granted. Now
people with disabilities can enjoy the same right."

The standards contain
detailed descriptions on designing, installing and operating electronic
banking services to ensure they are more accessible.

"Talking ATMs
to assist blind people; clearer, more consistent instructions on telephone
transactions and operating features at a height accessible to people who
use wheelchairs are examples of things covered by the standards",
said Dr Ozdowski.

The ABA made a commitment
to developing the standards following the release of a Commission report
on the danger that people with disabilities and older Australians were
being left on the wrong side of the 'digital divide'.

Over the past nine
months the ABA has worked closely with the financial services industry,
technical experts, the Commission and representatives from the disability
and older Australian communities to develop the standards.

"This has been
a major effort by the ABA and their commitment to developing the standards
in partnership with service users has delivered excellent results,"
said Dr Ozdowski.

"The standards
are voluntary, but I am confident industry will very quickly move to adopt
them and develop implementation plans in consultation with the community."

"These standards
reflect best practice and when implemented Australia will be well placed
to become a world leader in the area of accessible e-commerce," he
said. "I encourage all financial institutions to move swiftly to
implement them."

For information on
the standards see the ABA website

Media contacts:
Janine MacDonald at HREOC on (02) 9284 9880 or 0408 469 347
Heather Wellard at the Australian Bankers' Association on 0409 830 439

updated 15 April 2002.