Auslan videoconferencing a sign of the times at DHS

The Department of Human Services is working with Deaf Services Queensland to break down barriers in service delivery for deaf Australians using videoconferencing technology.

The project was recently recognised as a winner in the department’s Pinnacle Achievement Awards, part of the formal National Awards and Honours Programme which recognises outstanding staff achievements among its 35,000-strong workforce.

Project Director Mike Armstrong said this was a breakthrough in harnessing technology to innovate the way the department delivers Centrelink services.

“We’ve been able to pilot the technology in partnership with Deaf Services Queensland to connect Auslan interpreters with deaf customers without the need for travel,” Mr Armstrong said.

“In the past it would have taken weeks to book in an Auslan interpreter to travel to one of our sites, but with the Express Plus Connect technology it only takes 20 minutes.”

Project Officer Melissa Ryan said that the videoconferencing technology meant fewer barriers for service delivery.

“The Express Plus Connect project has been focusing on how we can overcome some of the geographical limitations of face to face service delivery through technological innovation,” Ms Ryan said.

“Videoconferencing through Express Plus Connect means it will be possible for our staff who are situated across the country, to help those who need it most, regardless of where they’re from.”

Deaf Services Queensland CEO Brett Casey said the partnership between their Auslan Connections division and the department will have a positive impact for deaf Australians.

“We’re proud to partner with the department to deliver this service, which has now placed the Deaf community at an equal standing in the broader community and has already assisted the lives of many Deaf people across the country,” Mr Casey said.

“We commend the department for their innovation and for ensuring equality in service provision to the Deaf community.”

To find out more about how the department can assist customers with a hearing impairment or disability, visit humanservices.gov.au/disability.