With around one in five Australians speaking a language other than English at home and over 400 languages spoken in Australia, the Department of Human Services provides extensive support to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The department provides free translation and interpreting services for departmental business in more than 200 languages. We have a national network of Multicultural Service Officers and more than 600 bilingual staff who provide language support.
Grant in Hobart is one of the 70 Multicultural Service Officers who make our services more accessible to our diverse customer group across Australia.
Older Australians from a culturally and linguistically diverse background can potentially get lost in the maze of government assistance.
Grant and our network of specialist officers help people to access the support they need when they need it.
Grant’s role includes promoting the department’s services and establishing effective relationships in the community and across government.
He is instrumental in ensuring government support and services reach all Australians regardless of their age and background.
Working with a range of local service providers, including the Hobart Migrant Resource Centre and CatholicCare, Grant builds relationships to help improve service delivery to culturally and linguistically diverse customers by understanding their needs and relaying this information back to the department.
As well as building local networks, Grant’s cross-cultural skills are an asset to the organisation.
Grant provides training to departmental staff, to assist communication with multicultural customers through interpreter and translation services.
This helps break down language barriers and making government services and support more accessible for all Australians, especially the most vulnerable.
Customers who speak a language other than English can call the multilingual phone service – the largest in the Southern Hemisphere – on 131 202 to discuss Centrelink business in their own language.
Innovations like the department’s Express Plus Lite app, available in Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Persian (Farsi) and translated information in written, video and audio format, makes it easier for customers from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds to access information about payments and services.
The department’s Twitter account also tweets in languages other than English when SBS is broadcasting important messages for Human Services customers.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers can also access specialised services to make contacting the department easier. To get in contact with us, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers can call the Indigenous Phone Service on 1800 136 380 (this is not an interpreting service).
People can also subscribe to an eNewsletter ‘News for Indigenous Australians’ or ‘News for migrants, refugees and visitors’ to find out more about the department’s latest products and services for Indigenous Australians and customers from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.