SOCOG thumbs its nose at the disabled

In its stated plan to ignore the orders of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to make its website acccessible to the visually impaired, SOCOG is callously thumbing its nose at the disabled and treating the Commission with contempt.

HREOC found that SOCOG in maintaining its website in a form inaccessible to people with visual impairments unlawfully discriminated against Mr Maguire. The Commission ordered SOCOG to rectify the site to make it accessible. The Commission also criticised SOCOG for inordinately delaying the hearing of the case and for failing to provide detailed information about the site. It found a clear inference that SOCOG never seriously considered the issue of access raised by the complaint and ?when the hearing was imminent resorted to a process that was both inadequate and unconvincing? to try to justify its position.”

“SOCOG?s repeated claim that rectification would cost $2 million is a fantasy.” Mr Moran, solicitor for Mr Maguire said today. “The expert evidence accepted by the Commission was that it can be made accessible ?very simply, with a minimum of difficulty and at a modest cost.? How can it be that highly qualified experts can fix the site for between $30-50,000 and yet if you employ IBM to do it the cost is $2million.”

“SOCOG had over 12 months to prepare and provide evidence to the Commission of the cost of rectification and it failed to produce any convincing expert material or other evidence.”

“No one from either SOCOG or IBM with any detailed knowledge of the website was willing to give evidence and submit the themselves to cross examination. Given this and SOCOG?s history of trying to avoid or delay the case, its current unsubstantiated assertions to the media about the cost and problems raised by rectification should be rejected.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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