Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Consultation on disability parking – and perhaps a kiwi announcer

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-05-27

While it doesn’t directly affect me (I’ll never drive, and my daughter is off the road with long-term nerve damage), I /will/ highlight the Disability Parking Call For Submissions Media Announcement (2009-05-26) announcement by Bill Shorten, because I think the plans for a national permit and minimum standards for disability parking are important, rather than a zillion different permits and no real minimum standards for supply of such parking.

Hopefully, there’ll be some way of controlling abuses by unscrupulous and selfish drivers, but I haven’t got a clue how this could be done.

It is worth noting that hidden "underneath" the web page is a
Zip file containing an audio version of the announcement, created using "Dolphin Easy Producer", software used to create talking books.

That FaHCSIA is using such software is a good thing, but with it "hidden" (I chanced upon a hint it was there and looked at the source code), it doesn’t encourage sighted folk to bring down the announcement for their friends with vision problems.

The audio version has an antipodean accent, and relatively smooth compared to announcements at railway stations, but either the software creating the voice is still needs improvement, or it was read by a kiwi, because "bushfire" is pronounced with a short "u" the way our kiwi friends say "fush and chups", rather than "booshfire".

Still, does anyone know if the provision of audio documents is a new initiative that isn’t yet "public", or if it FaHCSIA has been doing this for a while?  It’s something that would be good to see get wider use.

In the "hidden" file are hints as to the technology – it’s using SMIL – Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language – from (the web standards body), although version 1 not the recent version 3.

If you are interested in SMIL players and browser plugins (it’ll be useful for fancy presentations not just as an assistive technology for vision-impaired folk), then it’s worth providing the following links:

  • AmbulantPlayer is probably the most advanced (SMIL 3.0 compliant) players, is open source, multiplatform (although there are problems with Vista – so stick to Linux, MacOS or XP), with browser plugins available here for Firefox and Safari, and standalone players, including for some mobile phones here.
  • The W3 SMIL page also provides a list of other SMIL Authoring tools as well as other players and demos.

Anyway, back to the consultation details:

  • Harmonisation of Disability Parking Permit Schemes in Australia main page
  • Discussion paper and submission form: PDF or HTML
  • Email submissions to by 2009-07-31 17:00 AEST
  • Other means of making submissions, or booking a place at one of the face-to-face consultations in capital cities plus Alice Springs, Cairns and Townsville are available on the main page for the consultation.
  • If you need the discussion paper in braille, "Easy English", in another language, or on CD, use the call centre on 1800 630 740, 1800 555 677 (TTY)

One Response to “Consultation on disability parking – and perhaps a kiwi announcer”

  1. […] Consultation on disability parking – and perhaps a kiwi announcer […]

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