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HREOC media release:

Commission Commission – General

24 July 2001

Westpac commended for
improving
access to services

Disability Discrimination
Commissioner Dr Sev Ozdowski has welcomed Westpac's commitment to improving
access to banking services and employment opportunities for people with
a disability.

Dr Ozdowski was today
presented with a copy of Westpac's Action Plan under the federal Disability
Discrimination Act.

"The completion
of this Action Plan is an important event for Westpac customers and employees,"
said Dr Ozdowski. "Westpac's plan demonstrates a creative and forward-thinking
approach to ensuring that people with a disability are able to enjoy the
same access to banking services as other Australians."

"A recent national
inquiry conducted by the Commission highlighted that older Australians
and people with a disability are increasingly being left on the wrong
side of the digital divide when it comes to banking and e-commerce."

Practical initiatives
outlined in Westpac's Disability Action Plan include the introduction
of talking ATMs for people with a vision impairment, physically accessible
Internet Kiosks in local branches and community education seminars to
assist people improve their access to banking services.

Dr Ozdowski also
commended Westpac for its commitment to providing employment opportunities
to people with a disability.

"Employers cannot
afford to overlook the wealth of skills, talent and ability that people
with a disability can provide. I trust other businesses will follow the
lead of Westpac in this area," he said.

Westpac's Disability
Action Plan can be viewed at: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/action_plans/index.html

Media Contact: Janine
MacDonald (02) 9284 9880 or 0412 783 631

Last
updated 2 December 2001.