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Disability Australia members today joined with people who are blind or vision impaired to celebrate better access to printed material as the Australian government became the twelfth country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty.

The Treaty, which will come into force after twenty countries have ratified, allows books to be exchanged across countries if they are specially formatted for people with print disabilities.

“This is a fundamental change in what we can read,” said Blind Citizens Australia CEO Leah van Poppel. “The number of books in Braille, large print and audio across the world is small, and only a few can be transferred between countries now. With this Treaty, people with print disabilities will have greater choice of different books in different languages.”

Although people who are blind or vision impaired have been driving the development and ratification of the Treaty, the benefits will be reaped by many others who fall into the broader category of ‘print disability’, which can have a range of causes, such as dyslexia.

“Disability Australia works together to create better lives for all people with disability and supporting expertise about each disability type,” said Matthew Wright, CEO of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and spokesperson for Disability Australia.

“The work that Blind Citizens Australia and their counterparts internationally have done in this area demonstrates how specialist work can benefit people more broadly.”

Media contact: Leah van Poppel, CEO Blind Citizens Australia 0430 210 980

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