Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Media release: Ni hao! We speak your language

19 April 2018

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

The Turnbull Government is acknowledging the importance of Australia’s Chinese community ahead of Chinese Language Day this Friday.

The latest Census shows that around one million Australians come from a Chinese background and Mandarin - spoken by 600,000 residents - is the most common language spoken in Australia after English.

To ensure that those from a Chinese background can easily access Government services, the Department of Human Services has more than 100 staff based around the country who are fluent in Cantonese or Mandarin and are ready to help.

The department also produces a wide range of online resources such as translated fact sheets, podcasts and vodcasts which contain helpful information to assist people to access support.

There are 104 Mandarin and Cantonese information sessions held weekly at 23 service centres nationwide, with 11 Service Centres employing Chinese interpreters five days a week.

Multilingual staff member Chia-Hung Weng speaks fluent Mandarin and Cantonese to help people gain access to the services they need.

He is one of 30 staff who speaks a Chinese language in the department’s Multilingual Phone Service where more than 100 staff handle about 2500 calls a day in more than 32 different languages.

Staff like Chia-Hung use their language skills to help customers gain access to government services and resources in their language online and help jobseekers download and use apps such as the multilingual Express Plus Lite mobile app to report their employment income in Chinese.

Page last updated: 19 April 2018