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By end-Q4, 2014 all government web services must be accessible for people with disability. The National Transition Strategy that was launched in 2010 means that all federal government websites including internet, intranet and extranet sites, must meet WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 Level AA by December 2014. Agencies that do not implement WCAG 2.0 may be at greater risk of complaint under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and other anti-discrimination Acts. Further, agencies should be aware that accessibility is a requirement for all websites even when the audience is known. People with disability are not legally bound to disclose it and many do not.

Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the web including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological disabilities. WCAG 2.0 stipulates that content should be ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.’ Agencies must ensure that each web page meets WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements. A government website is defined as: either fully or partly owned and/or operated by a government agency; is registered on a domain name, sub-domain or sub-directory; has a distinct look and design, audience and purpose.

State and Territory jurisdictions are able to set their own guidelines at their discretion however in order to harmonise a national transition all governments should adopt the AA level of conformance within four years. NSW, VIC, NT and the ACT are expected to meet the new requirements by December 2014.  Western Australia had set a preferred guideline for Level AA by December 2013 while SA and QLD are yet to confirm a compliance date. Tasmania has a Government Disability Action Framework for Action but this is not a specific web accessibility policy.

Details: http://www.w3.org