Funding boost for interpreters
Victorians from linguistically diverse backgrounds will have better access to interpreter services thanks to a funding boost from the State 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 contractor and casually employed interpreters.
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.
The State Government says the funding increase will redress this decline and support a high quality and professional interpreter workforce in Victoria.
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.
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, the government said.
Minister Scott said the funding boost would enable all Victorians, regardless of their English language skills, to access government services.
“All Victorians have a right to access government services, regardless of their English language skills. Interpreters are vital to enabling this access,” Minister Scott said.
“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,” he said.
AMES Australia Senior Journalist