The Commonwealth Government has provided $350,000 to help older Australians with hearing impairments access the cinema.
The Department of Health and Ageing is working together with the Independent Cinema Association of Australia and Media Access Australia to enable 12 cinemas to be fitted out with a cinema subtitling system.
The Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot told parliament that the project was part of a broader Government plan to focus on positive and active ageing.
“It’s part of our wider agenda to promote social inclusion and participation, as well as reducing social isolation,” she said.
“Many older Australians have told me that indeed they want to share in the enjoyment and pleasure of going to the movies with their grandchildren during the school holidays but they can’t of course enjoy the films because they are unable to hear them.”
The minister said that the USA has more than 830 accessible cinemas, representing about 15 per cent of locations and one accessible cinema for every 357,000 people.
The United Kingdom has 250 accessible cinemas, representing nearly 38 per cent of locations, she added.
There are currently only 10 accessible cinemas in Australia. They are located in the eight capital cities as well as Glendale in Newcastle (NSW) and Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast (Qld).
This latest round of funding will particularly target regional and independent cinemas.
The announcement was welcomed by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.
“This announcement will be welcomed by the community as it will increase the current availability of cinema access by more than 100 per cent,” said Graeme Innes, the commissioner responsible for disability discrimination.
“In the longer term, I would like to see all cinemas provide access for every Australian and look forward to the outcomes of the government’s investigation into media access, currently underway.”