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Disability Action Plan aims at access for all
03 Dec 1999

Cable & Wireless Optus today launched a Disability Action Plan to ensure all customers have access to communications products and services appropriate to their needs.

One-in-five Australians has some form of disability. For many, such as the deaf, hearing and speech impaired accessing communications services is often difficult and requires specialised products and services. The Plan addresses these access issues and other concerns like bills for the blind and physical access to retail stores and office buildings.

"The plan demonstrates our commitment and partnership with the disability community to work towards access to telecommunications services for all customers," according to Stephe Wilks, Director Regulatory and Public Affairs.

"While we recognise new technology including the Internet and wireless application protocol on mobile phones will create significant opportunities for enhancing access, we know we need to work with individual customers to meet their specific requirements."

Specific areas addressed by the Plan include corporate culture, confidentiality, products and services, accessible communications and the physical environment.

The Plan was developed by a company-wide working group and representatives from a range of peak disability organisations from sectors representing people who have a physical disability; are deaf or hearing impaired; or blind or visually impaired. It complements existing environmental and social responsibility programs.

Through closer ties with disability groups, Cable & Wireless Optus has formed a strategic alliance with the Australian Communications Exchange (ACE), a not-for-profit organisation that operates the National Relay Service, providing a voice to telephone typewriter (TTY) translation service.

The four-year, $7 million alliance will see Cable & Wireless Optus providing ACE with their telecommunications requirements, including long distance calls, PABX hardware and data services and access to telecommunications solutions and advice. Cable & Wireless Optus will receive specialist input into the development of products and services compatible for deaf, hearing and speech impaired users.

For more information:
Ross Monaghan
Phone: (03) 9233 3209