New Audio Description Working Group to improve accessibility

Joint Media Release with:

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the Arts

The Turnbull Government has announced the formation of an Audio Description Working Group to examine options for increasing the availability of audio description services in Australia, following the ABC’s recent trial on iview.

Audio description is a verbal commentary that complements the underlying soundtrack of a television program, film, DVD or live performance. It aims to assist people who are blind or vision impaired.

ABC’s audio description trial on iview ran for 15 months concluding in June 2016. The trial provided 14 hours of audio-described content per week, accessible on a range of devices. It received positive feedback from users. The ABC’s trial shows that audio description can be successfully incorporated into programs which are made available online.

The Government will invite representatives from the broadcasting and streaming industries, audio description service providers and consumer representatives to participate in the working group.

The Government is committed to building on the successes of the ABC’s trial and looks forward to receiving the findings of the Audio Description Working Group.

The Working Group will provide a report to Government on its findings by 31 December 2017. The full Terms of Reference for the Working Group and the ABC’s report on the trial of audio description are available on the Department of Communications and the Arts website.