Deafblind Awareness Week
With Deafblind Awareness Week just around the corner (24-30 June), I am writing to urge readers to take some time to consider the many challenges that people with dual sensory loss in our community experience every day.
Deafblindness is a lot more common than people might think. There are now 288,000 people in Australia who experience this condition and this number is expected to exceed one million by 2050. It’s a remarkable number and one that is estimated to be costing Australia $10 billion in hidden costs.
This year, Able Australia is celebrating its 50th birthday. Starting out in 1967 as a small parents support association for children born without sight or hearing, the organisation has since grown into a national not-for-profit organisation which supports more than 4000 people with multiple disabilities (including deafblindness) and those in need of social or community assistance.
Every day, Able Australia supports people with deafblindness to remain socially connected to their local community and assist them to live life the way they choose. It’s a myth to believe the general community cannot communicate with deafblind people who can now communicate very effectively with others through mobile devices connected to a portable braille device.
However more support is needed. People with deafblindness have unique communication needs and require a great deal of one-to-one support to interact with the local community. Unfortunately many of these requirements are not covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
This Deafblind Awareness Week, I encourage everyone to contemplate what life would be like without sight or sound and to consider making a donation to support our efforts to deliver a better life experience for the deafblind community.
Many well-known Australians have kindly lent their support to this awareness week and our 50th birthday celebrations already, including Beaconsfield miner Brant Webb, Icehouse star Iva Davies, Ironman Guy Leech and author Di Morrissey.
If you would like to help or just want to find out more, just call 1300 225 369 or visit www.ableaustralia.org.au.
Duncan Armstrong, Olympic Gold Medallist.
Why farmers should break up with their banks
Australian agriculturalists are remaining loyal to the big four banks despite receiving terrible foreign exchange rates, high fees and little to no service on their international money transfers.
They are already burdened by the prospect of a higher Australian dollar and thin margins on profits because of competitiveness, seasonality and increased overseas price pressures.
So why are they adding to these challenges by letting their banks rip them off?
Part of the problem is that these banks are often the ones who helped set up the family business decades ago, and this familiarity has fostered a sense of loyalty and trust.
However these emotional connections are leaving agriculture importers and exporters blind to the fact that there are other alternatives out there beyond the big four banks.
They deserve a better deal than what they are getting and have a right to know what’s out there.
The globalisation of food supply and Australia’s growing reliance on overseas markets means our agriculture industry is increasingly dependent on foreign trade.
Farmers can no longer ignore the impact of foreign exchange and it is important that they are not left in the dark about their options.
In a tough economic environment including a volatile Australian dollar, every cent counts.
Importers and exporters are missing out on the opportunity to save themselves thousands of dollars.
Alexander Cook, foreign exchange provider.