Australia Issues Its First Ever Tactile Banknote After Blind Boy Campaign
The Reserve Bank of Australia has issued its first ever tactile banknote on September 1 after a campaign by a blind boy.
Three years ago, 12-year-old Connor McLeod filed a discrimination complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission and started an online petition with his mother which received more than 56,000 supporters.
The A$5 note goes into circulation with a tiny new feature designed to help people who are blind or visually impaired.
It has two raised dots on both of its long sides, allowing those who cannot see to identify its value, ABC reports.
It is Australia’s first note to feature the tactile markings, and is being hailed as a major breakthrough.
Bruce Maguire from the non-profit Vision Australia organization said: “For the first time in the history of Australian currency it will be possible for someone who is blind or vision-impaired to just pick up a note and know instantly what it is.”
He says the change will help 360,000 Australians.
Currently, blind or visually impaired people have to rely on others to identify the note and give the correct change. Some use a measuring instrument – which ABC News notes can be fiddly in a busy shop – or smart phone apps.
Connor McLeod, now 15, wrote on the news.co.au website: “Now when I grow up, I won’t have to rely on trusting that people have always given me the right change.
“I can feel the markings on the bank notes and tell them if they’ve given me the wrong change and also think to myself: I did that.”
Connor McLeod came up with the idea after receiving some money for Christmas when he was 11, “but had no idea how much it was and how generous or tight-arse the present-giver had been,” he said on September 1.