Victorians from linguistically diverse backgrounds will have better access to interpreter services thanks to a significant funding boost from the State Government.
The funding boost of $21.8 million over four years, and $8.4 million per year ongoing, will improve the pay and working conditions of contractor and casually employed interpreters, and is the largest single funding increase for interpreter services in the state's history.
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.
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.
However, remuneration for interpreters has been static for over 15 years, acting like a decrease in real terms. This has seen many experienced interpreters leave the sector.
Following extensive consultation, the government has reformed 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.
“With Victoria’s increasing cultural diversity, interpreters have never been more important,” says Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott.
A new Victorian Language Services Quality Committee will be established to advise the Government on industry sustainability and quality issues into the future.