By SAT News Desk
MELBOURNE, 25 June: Victorians from linguistically diverse backgrounds will soon have better access to health, education and other critical services with the boost of funding for interpreter services from the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott announced $21.8 million over four years and $8.4 million per year ongoing to improve the pay and working conditions of the contractor and casually employed interpreters.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott says, “All Victorians have a right to access government services, regardless of their English language skills. Interpreters are vital to enabling this access.”
The boost is the largest single funding increase for interpreter services in Victoria’s history.
Interpreters enable linguistically diverse communities to better access health, education and other critical services, also facilitating better communications between professionals at service providers and their clients, yet interpreter remuneration has been static for over 15 years.
This decrease in real terms has seen many experienced interpreters leave the sector due to concerns about job security, remuneration and working conditions.
To redress this decline, and support a high quality and professional interpreter workforce in Victoria, the Andrews Government is reforming its procurement of language services. The changes ensure better rates are paid to interpreters, and that the right incentives are in place to keep them performing their crucial role in the delivery of government services.
“With Victoria’s increasing cultural diversity, interpreters have never been more important. It is essential that we ensure a professional, high-quality language services industry to meet the needs of Victorians,” the Minister says.
From the 1 July, minimum rates of remuneration will be guaranteed for all contractor and casually employed interpreters who provide services to the Victorian Government.
The reforms are the result of an extensive consultation with interpreters and other industry stakeholders and independent evidence-based reviews.
A new Victorian Language Services Quality Committee will be established to advise the Government on industry sustainability and quality issues into the future.