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The New South Wales Premier's office has decided that AUSLAN interpreters are no longer needed as permanent part of his press conferences.
Sign language interpreters have been vital for the deaf and hard of hearing community in New South Wales during the coronavirus pandemic.
Closed-captions aren't as accurate during live events and AUSLAN (which is the language of the Australian deaf community) interpreters have been front and centre since the pandemic began to ensure important health information was getting to those who needed it.
However, people have noticed that a sign language interpreter was unmistakably missing this week as the state was coming out of lockdown restrictions.
They flocked to social media to criticise the government for not keeping deaf people in the loop for a pretty important press conference.
It's now been confirmed that Dominic Perrottet has removed the need for an interpreter by his side when he's speaking to journalists.
The Office of the NSW Premier told the ABC that AUSLAN interpreters won't be a permanent part during Mr Perrottet's press conferences going forward.
"As NSW returns to a more normal setting and emerges from COVID-19 there will be a range of media events some which may include the services of Auslan interpreters and some which may not," a spokesperson said.
"NSW Health has worked closely throughout the pandemic with the Deaf Society which has provided Auslan interpreters at health-content-led press conferences and at the livestreaming of NSW Health social media messages.
"NSW Health will continue to book Auslan interpreters at press conferences coordinated by NSW Health relating to public health updates."
People are furious about the admission considering the Premier's press conferences are still important to the deaf community.
Just because it's might not be Covid-19 related doesn't mean the subject matter isn't relevant to people who can't hear.
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights has issued a statement to the New South Wales government explaining how it is a human right to have 'information intended for the general public to be in accessible formats, including through the use of sign language'.
Deaf Australia chief executive Jen Blyth said the same can be said for the Prime Minister.
"The last 50 press conferences that he's done, there's only been about six interpreters present," she told SBS News.
"We've begun a campaign to help the community support this advocacy cause."
Featured Image Credit: Dominic Perrottet/Facebook
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