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November 15, 2004

Better help for deaf, but more needed

From: Hobart Mercury - Hobart,Tasmania,Australia - Nov 15, 2004


AFTER 30 years as an advocate and champion of the deaf, Steve Ripley says services for the deaf have come a long way but that there is still a long way to go.

Mr Ripley was in Hobart for the fourth annual Deaf Festival and said he has been impressed by improved services and changed attitudes to the deaf in Tasmania.

"I know there are some in the local deaf community who think change has been too slow but I have noticed great improvement over the years," Mr Ripley said.

Mr Ripley, president of the Deafblind Association in New South Wales, has been involved in many ground-breaking improvements for the deaf.

"I was involved in the Theatre of the Deaf for eight years and I still teach the deaf at TAFE in New South Wales," he said.

"I can see a vibrant deaf community in Tasmania but we need to keep working on services and public awareness issues."

The Deaf Festival, at the Hobart City Hall, included a performance by the Signing Choir, which includes students from Claremont Primary and Rose Bay High School.

There was an arts and crafts exhibition, photography exhibition, dancing and other entertainment.

The festival was opened by Hobart Lord Mayor Rob Valentine who said the festival was important to Hobart's deaf community as it provided a forum to highlight issues that are important to them.

"As well as enjoying the activities and events, the knowledgeable speakers also offer an insight for those of us who can hear, and a valuable source of reference for the deaf community," he said.

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