History of ADBC

The Australian DeafBlind Council (ADBC) now Deafblind Australia (DBA) was set up following the National Deafblind Conference in Melbourne in 1993 as an advocacy organisation for people with deafblindness and their families and as a network for people with vision and hearing impairments and deafblindness, freelance professionals, family members and carers, professionals involved with people with deafblindness, organisations who provide services to people with deafblindness and other interested people.

DBA has also more recently taken on the role as the National Information Office on Deafblindness. This is a natural extension of its work as it found in fact it had become the de facto information office for deafblindness due to the lack of any other such an organisation 

Membership is open to individuals who are deafblind, their families and other support people, professionals involved with people who are deafblind, organisations serving people who are deafblind and other interested persons. DBA is financed by subscriptions and donations from members and by the support of several organisations that provide services to people with deafblindness especially Able Australia Services. It aims to obtain full or partial government subsidy to finance its activities but this has proved difficult to achieve. Members receive a copy of ADBC’s magazine Beacon

The DBA Executive Committee is composed of the following members: three deafblind members, one family/support person, three organisational or professional members and a member from the organisation where its secretariat is based. This latter member may only vote on financial matters. The President and Vice President must be persons who are deafblind.

Its objectives are to:

  • promote and represent the interests of people with   deafblindness;
  • establish an agreed and accepted definition of deafblindness;
  • encourage self-organisation and self-determination by people who are deafblind;
  • serve as a national assembly for meetings, communication and interchange;
  • advocate for people who are deafblind;
  • provide a forum for collective expression and discussion;
  • work for improvement throughout Australia in accommodation, education, health, welfare, rehabilitation, employment, respite, interpreter and other support services, and recreation for deafblind people;
  • cooperate with kindred organisation in the interests of people with deafblindness;
  • be an information centre about deafblindness and to disseminate information on deafblindness;
  • solicit support from government for people with deafblindness;
  • publishes a magazine, Beacon, two to three times a year in appropriate formats for the deafblind community; 
  • promote quality in services for people with deafblindness and their families;
  • establish suitable training facilities for staff employed in deafblind services;
  • organise the National DeafBlind Conferences; and
  • encourage research in deafblindness