Mar 19, 2010

New multilingual information booklet launched

New multilingual information booklet launched

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

March 19 2010

Member for Grayndler and Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese MP, today launched Centrelink’s new Information in your language booklet at Petersham Town Hall in Sydney.

“Australia is enriched by its migrants and refugees, and their diverse cultural backgrounds,” Mr Albanese said.

“It’s very important that people who arrive are made to feel welcome and included, and get support if they need it, whether they speak English or not.

“This new Information in your language booklet is the latest addition to Centrelink’s suite of information products for Australians who come from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

“For the first time, translated introductory information on all of Centrelink’s wide range of payments and services is packaged neatly into one booklet.

“It comes in 35 languages from Chinese, Greek and Italian to Nepali, Swahili, Tagalog and more,” Mr Albanese said.

Mr Albanese said it was a valuable resource for people who are often vulnerable and at risk of being left out due to language barriers.

“Centrelink plays an important role in the lives of most Australians at some point in their lives, and is a front-line agency for new Australians who don’t speak English,” said Mr Albanese.

“Near here in my own electorate, almost half the customers at the Marrickville Centrelink office are from migrant or refugee backgrounds. Language should be no barrier to finding Government services.

“It’s estimated that around 1.3 million of Centrelink’s 6.8 million customers are from backgrounds where English is not the primary language.

“Centrelink’s Multicultural Service Officers reach out to non-English speaking communities to ensure they have the same access to Australian Government services as everyone else.

“Centrelink already produces a wide range of multilingual publications, and often places articles in ethnic media as well as producing translated audio and visual material to help people understand their rights and obligations.

“This new flagship booklet is an important addition to Centrelink’s existing and impressive array of multicultural communication and promotional material, helping to inform and empower non-English speakers so they can have equal access to Australian Government services.

“Along with basic information about payments, programs and eligibility it also covers topics of particular interest to migrants and refugees – such as waiting periods, proof of residence requirements and international social security agreements.”

Anthony with Pino Migliorino (left) from the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia and Centrelink’s Sam Campisi at the launch of the multicultural information booklets at Petersham Town Hall.