Top 12 of 2012 #3 – the National Transition Strategy

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012 09:56am

The Australian Government should have made significant progress towards making each of its websites accessible in 2012 as a result of the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy.

Put in place by the Australian Government Information Office (AGIMO), the strategy states that all Australian government websites must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level A by 31 December 2012, and Level AA by December 2014. By complying with these standards, website owners help ensure that web-based information and tools can be used by everyone regardless of disability.

The policy was first announced in June 2010 and represents a massive undertaking for government departments and agencies.

The Australian Government Chief Information Officer, Ann Steward, stated on the National Transition Strategy webpage, “The Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy sets a course for improved web services, paving the way for a more accessible and usable web environment that will more fully engage with, and allow participation from, all people within our society.”

At the state and territory level, adoption of web accessibility policy has been inconsistent, with some states and territories matching the Federal Government’s deadlines and others promising to out-pace them. Tasmania has agreed to meet WCAG 2.0 Level A but has failed to provide any timelines. South Australia’s remains the only government in Australia that has not stated whether or not they will adopt the guidelines.

Government agencies are expected to report on their progress to AGIMO. The real impact and measurement of the compliance will be apparent in the new year.

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