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The Public Interest Advocacy Centre is taking legal action to help people who are blind or have low vision with their banking.

The Commonwealth Bank is facing disability discrimination cases in relation to their touchscreen “Albert” EFTPOS machines after two consumers launched matters in the Federal Circuit Court, represented by PIAC, with the support of the Grata Fund. The consumers, Graeme Innes and Nadia Mattiazzo, who are both blind, say people who are blind or have low vision are unable to use the Albert machines because they have a touch screen rather than a tactile keypad.

It has been reported that there are more than 88,000 Albert machines in operation across Australia. The bank has continued to roll out the machines despite the concerns of blindness advocates and individuals.PIAC client Nadia Mattiazzo said she had decided to take legal action as a last resort. “We have been raising these issues since 2016 and so far the Commonwealth Bank has failed to act,” said Mattiazzo. “The 350,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision should not be left out when new technology is introduced.

“These machines seriously limit where I am able to shop and eat out. I am not willing to divulge my PIN to complete strangers and I would be in breach of my contract with the bank if I were to do so. I have no choice but to avoid businesses that use them.” PIAC Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Hunyor said consumers shouldn’t have to take legal action to ensure accessibility issues are properly considered when new technology is introduced. “New technology offers opportunities for inclusion and has the potential to transform lives,” Hunyor said. “We should not accept bad design that leaves people behind. Big corporations like the Commonwealth Bank need to demonstrate their commitment to our community by ensuring their products and services are accessible to all.”