Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen said Harmony Week was a fitting opportunity to highlight barriers that exist for CALD Australians, and how Services Australia is making a difference through inclusion and diversity.
“Harmony Week is a reminder of Australia’s diverse multiculturalism, and the barriers that can exist for people to access our services,” Mr Jongen said.
“Stigma, language barriers and unfamiliarity of Government can all impact outcomes for CALD customers.
“Recognising the importance of diversity in the workforce, our staff reflect the community they serve. Over 380 bilingual staff support customers with their regular Centrelink business in languages other than English”.
“We also provide free interpreting and translating services in over 200 languages.”
In addition, more than 1,600 contracted interpreters and translators deliver these services on behalf of the agency. This includes Indigenous interpreters, and Auslan interpreters for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“The agency also has close to 70 Multicultural Service Officers, working with multicultural community groups, staff and other government departments to improve outcomes for CALD Aussies by understanding their needs,” Mr Jongen said.
Since August last year, Services Australia has also embedded sixteen Community Partnership Specialist Officers (CPSO) in community organisations, as part of the Community Partnership Pilot. The pilot aims to strengthen the availability of wraparound and tailored Government support for people experiencing vulnerability and barriers to service access. This can include people from CALD backgrounds.
Community Partnership Specialist Officer (CPSO), Phonethip is celebrating Harmony Week at Core Community Services in Cabramatta.
“I’ve worked with Services Australia for close to 17 years now, providing support for customers experiencing vulnerability through community organisations, like mental health facilities and crisis support services,” Phonethip said.
“I’m so proud to continue supporting customers in this tailored way through the Community Partnership Pilot. Providing wraparound support for people of all ethnicities, all religions and of all faiths is at the heart of what we do, and I’m so proud to be making a difference in the lives of those who need it most.”