Auslan interpreters have straight-up vanished from NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s COVID-19 press conferences, which is a huge loss for the state’s hearing-impaired community.

Over on Twitter, people have noticed a startling lack of Australian sign language interpreters during key COVID-19 press conferences from yesterday and this morning about the state reopening.

“This is very disappointing as Deaf and hard of hearing people living in Sydney (and the rest of NSW) deserve to access COVID-19 information in Auslan, particularly with COVID-19 restrictions changing from today,” Sherrie Beaver, a Deaf Auslan user in Melbourne said in a Twitter thread.

“By being able to access information about changing COVID-19 restrictions in Auslan, Deaf people will be able to acclimate to the new COVID normal.

“Without access to information in Auslan, how will they be able to adjust life post-lockdown? [This will be a] huge impact on their mental health!”

Speaking in a statement today, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights said there was “significant concern” over the decision.

“Article 21 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) enshrines the human right for the provision of information intended for the general public to be in accessible formats, including through the use of sign language,” Natalie Wade, the committee’s Vice President and Disability Rights Subcommittee Chair said.

“Press conferences regarding COVID-19 are a fundamental source of information to the public to know the latest in an ever-shifting environment. Failure to provide this information in an accessible manner, in real-time, violates the human rights of people with disability and places them at great risk.

“The NSW Government has an obligation to protect the rights of people with disability, and must provide Auslan interpreters for all COVID-19 press conferences.”

It’s currently unclear why exactly the Auslan interpreters have been missing from the last few NSW COVID-19 pressers. PEDESTRIAN.TV has reached out to Perrottet’s office for clarification but they did not reply at the time of publishing.