Negotiations between blindness peak groups and the Commonwealth Bank have been terminated after the bank refused to make changes to their ‘Albert’ EFTPOS machines to make them accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired.
Blind Citizens Australia, together with PIAC clients Graeme Innes and Nadia Mattiazzo, lodged discrimination complaints in the Australian Human Rights Commission against the Commonwealth Bank in relation to the machines, which are touchscreen devices that are inaccessible for people who are blind or vision impaired.
Because they do not include a tactile key-pad, the flat-screen machines, which are being rolled-out nationally, are impossible for many people who are blind or vision impaired to use without divulging their pin. It has been reported that there are around 75,000 Albert machines in operation across Australia.
‘We are disappointed that the Commonwealth Bank has not acted on our concerns,’ said Emma Bennison, Executive Officer of Blind Citizens Australia.
‘These machines make the simple act of paying with EFTPOS impossible for hundreds of thousands of people, unless they are prepared to reveal their pin to complete strangers – which is a huge security issue.’
Nadia Mattiazzo said that she was actively exploring options for further legal action
‘We are asking for the bank to stop rolling out the machines until accessibility issues can be properly addressed,’ Nadia Mattiazzo said.
‘The 350,000 Australians who are blind or vision impaired must not be left out when new technology is being introduced. Good design is accessible design.’
Martin Stewart from Melbourne was one of the original complainants who was represented by BCA. Martin is a double amputee as well as being totally blind.
‘Thanks to the Commonwealth Bank, Christmas shopping was an unnecessarily complex task. Not only did I need to work out what to buy, I also had to think about where to buy it from, to ensure that I did not face an un-usable Albert machine,’ said Martin.
MEDIA CONTACT: PIAC Media and Communications Manager, Gemma Pearce: 0478 739 280