Sign language milestone for Senior Australians

Senior Australians who are deaf or hard of hearing will have access to sign language services for a broader range of daily activities as part of a Federal Government funding boost.

A $13 million injection will mean sign language services will be more accessible for deaf elders aged 65 and over.

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said the initiative marked an important milestone for elders who use Auslan in their everyday communication.

Today marks International Day of Sign Languages.

“Hearing limitations can have a profound impact on the daily activities of senior Australians,” Minister Colbeck said.

“The Morrison Government is committed to ensuring anybody dealing with hearing loss can still live life to the full.”

Certified interpreters will provide Auslan, American Sign Language and International Sign Languages as part of the new service due to launch in November.

Signed English for deaf consumers and tactile signing and hand-over-hand for deafblind users will also be available.

It means those in need will have access to interpreters for a range of daily activities from face-to-face appointments and online learning to community and family functions.

The service, which will also include on-demand video remote interpreting, will be offered nationally, seven days a week and after business hours.

“I thank Australian Deaf Elders and members for advising how together we can address this gap and develop the new service,” Minister Colbeck said.

“I know many Australians who are deaf or hard of hearing have benefited from sign language interpreters at press briefings during the recent bushfires and the COVID-19 health emergency,” Minister Colbeck said.

“The Government will continue to identify and remove barriers so senior Australians can live healthy, active and socially connected lives.”

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