The McGowan Government has released the updated Western Australian Language Services Policy 2020 to ensure language is not a barrier to accessing information and services in the WA public sector.
The revised policy includes supporting resources, practical advice and case studies to make it easier than ever for agencies to implement.
Western Australians who may require assistance to communicate effectively include people from Aboriginal backgrounds, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Many Aboriginal people, especially those living in regional and remote Western Australia, speak Aboriginal languages or Aboriginal English as their first language rather than Standard Australian English.
More than 17 per cent of Western Australians speak a language other than English. Of those, more than 14 per cent do not speak English well or at all.
The proportion of Western Australians who communicate through Auslan (Australian sign language) has risen over the last decade.
The WA Language Services Policy 2020 and supporting resources are available through the Office of Multicultural Interests website at https://www.omi.wa.gov.au
As stated by Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Paul Papalia:
“The McGowan Government is committed to ensuring that every Western Australian has equitable access to information and services, no matter what their first language may be.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of making information accessible, particularly when it concerns issues of health and public safety.
“The Western Australian Language Services Policy 2020 helps ensure that language and literacy are not barriers that prevent Western Australians from accessing services and programs. This will make sure everyone has the opportunity to contribute to this State’s social, cultural and economic prosperity.”