We speak your language

By Hank Jongen

Department of Human Services

 

HARMONY Day, held on 21 March, was a celebration of cultural diversity and the perfect time to highlight the services available to those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

Staff are always available to assist people from diverse backgrounds face-to-face and over the phone, and in many cases, in their own language.

The Department of Human Services also has an extensive range of resources for people from CALD backgrounds.

This includes translated fact sheets, podcasts, interpreters, the Multilingual Phone Service and more than 600 bilingual staff and 70 multicultural service officers nationally who provide cultural and language support to people from diverse backgrounds.

Language and cross-cultural skills are an asset to the department, breaking down language barriers and making government services and support more accessible for all Australians, especially the most vulnerable.

Multicultural service officers work closely with community organisations to help people from CALD backgrounds access our services.

Giuseppe Ardica is one of more than 100 staff who help answer calls in a language other than English.

He’s part of the department’s Multicultural Phone Service that handles about 2,500 calls a day in more than 32 different languages.

Originally from Italy, Mr Giuseppe knows firsthand what it is like to arrive in a country and learn a new language.

Mr Giuseppe uses his language and cultural skills to make sure everyone can access government services and support regardless of their background.

More information about multicultural service officers and other services available for people from CALD backgrounds, can be found at humanservices.gov.au/yourlanguage or by phoning 131 202 to speak to a customer service officer in their language.

People can also subscribe to the eNewsletter ‘News for migrants, refugees and visitors’ to find out more.