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Joe Hockey and the RBA: My son can’t see - put tactile markings on our new banknotes so he has a chance at independence.

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My 12 year old son Connor is blind. That means I’m always fighting for the little things that will give him the same chance as everyone else. Things like having the confidence and independence to use money like everyone else -- and without being ripped off!

Our banknotes aren't able to be told apart by people who are blind - there's no markings on them to help, like there are in other countries. I’m asking Joe Hockey and the RBA board members to add tactile markings to the upcoming reprint of our banknotes so that they’re finally equally and independently accessible for all of us.

How do you differentiate your bank notes one from the other? A quick glance at the colour, the numbers or images? Connor can’t do that, and neither can more than 300,000 other Australians. He can’t see what note he is holding in his hand or what note someone is passing him as his change. He is reliant on the honesty of other people to tell him. But the bank that makes our notes can fix this right now.

The Reserve Bank has announced that they’ll be making changes to Australia’s money in the next few years - but so far they’ve refused to finally make banknotes accessible to blind people like my son, by including tactile markings.

Yes, the notes are all different sizes and that helps a little but unless he has one of each note in his wallet to compare where does the defining point come from? It’s also a challenge when he has to try and compare notes in front of strangers. He feels having to ask for assistance is embarrassing and defines him by his disability. It’s nowhere near as easily accessible as it is for a sighted person to differentiate between banknotes.

Australia's Banknotes are printed by Note Printing Australia, which is owned by the Reserve Bank. They also print notes for other countries including Chile, Mexico and Thailand all of whom already have tactile markings on banknotes. Why is Australia so backward in coming forward with accessibility options? I think Joe Hockey and the Reserve Bank of Australia can fix this and that’s what I, and thousands of others are asking him to do in this petition.



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