Last week the first ever Australian bank note that blind and vision-impaired people can read was released into circulation.
The $5 note and all future notes that are printed will feature tactile markings which will allow vision impaired and blind people to feel the difference between bank notes.
Merimbula’s Jesse Edwards said he thinks this could make a real difference in the lives of people who have previously struggled with paying cash.
Mr Edwards, 24, is considered legally blind despite having five per cent vision. He is able to see shapes and colours and is able to tell the difference between the colours of bank notes.
But he said these markings could make the process a lot quicker.
“No one wants to have all their cash out in front of them in a shop as they try to work out which note to give and to count how much change you’ve been given, you want to have your money visibile for as little time as possible.”
Mr Edwards said there have been times when other vision impaired or blind people he knows has been given incorrect change but have not realised until they have gotten home.
“I would say that everyone with vision problems would already have a system in place to differentiate between notes, whether they go by size or colour, but anything that can make this easier and quicker will be a big improvement.”
The tactile markings have been implemented thanks to a campaign by 15-year-old Connor McLeod, who is blind and lives in North Richmond, Central Coast NSW.
Using Change.org, Connor and his mum Ally Lancaster set up a petition and attracted 57,000 signatures of support. They then suggested that all petition signers contact the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to add pressure on them.
Connor and his mum travelled to Canberra to deliver their petition to MPs and win bipartisan support.
“I’m just an ordinary kid, I didn’t see myself as a campaigner. But I if I come across something that doesn’t sound right, I like to do something about it rather than just complain,” Connor said.
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