Australia Introduces Braille Banknote

Asia-Pacific, September 1 2016

CANBERRA: The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) officially releases new braille currency today to make it easier for people who are blind and have low vision  to decipher the bills and use cash more independently. It will contain a small but hugely important new design feature – making it the first Australian bank note that people with vision disabilities can read.

new five-dollar bill

The new five-dollar bill has a bump on each side of the long edges of the banknote so that people who are blind and have low vision can easily read the note like braille. The Reserve Bank said that other denominations will be introduced in the future, each with a different number of bumps.

Vision Australia’s Bruce Maguire said the new development was the “most significant inclusive action” ever undertaken for people with vision disabilities at a federal level, and it would assist an estimated 360,000 Australians – and countless tourists – who are blind.

“For the first time in the history of Australian currency it will be possible for someone who is blind or have low vision to just pick up a note and know instantly what it is,” Maguire told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Wednesday.

“As a blind person I think this change is one of the most significant inclusive actions I’ve seen in Australia in my lifetime because while there have been other inclusive actions, like audible pedestrian crossings, they’re not universal, they differ from state to state.

All praises go to 15-year-old North Richmond local Connor McLeod, who attracted 57,000 signatures of support on a petition he started with his mother.

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