Harmony Day (Wednesday 21 March) has special significance for the Department of Human Services’ staff with almost one in four from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.
Giuseppe Ardica is one of many staff who uses his language and cultural skills to make sure everyone can access government services and support regardless of their background.
He is based in the Department of Human Services Multilingual Phone Service where over 100 staff handle around 2500 calls a day in more than 32 different languages.
Originally from Italy, Giuseppe knows firsthand what it is like to arrive in a country and learn a new language.
“I came to this country for love and ended up falling in love with Australia with its vibrant diversity of peoples and cultures,” Giuseppe said.
“I’m proud to work in a place where my language and cross-cultural skills are seen as an asset and I can use my language – Italian – to break down language barriers for other people.
“I love sharing my culture and heritage and I am often called on to provide cultural advice and training to other staff.
“I go out of my way to make sure everyone can access Government services and support regardless of their language or background.”
Harmony Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and is an ideal time to recognise and celebrate Australia’s cultural and linguistic diversity.
The department has an extensive range of resources for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including translated fact sheets, podcasts, interpreters, the Multilingual Phone Service, and more than 600 bilingual staff and 70 Multicultural Service Officers who provide cultural and language support to people from diverse backgrounds.
To find out more about available resources and support services in your language, visit humanservices.gov.au/your language or call 131 202.