Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

100,000th Auslan interpreting appointment booked

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, today recognised the vital role the Australian Government’sNational Auslan Interpreter Booking and Payment Service (NABS) continues to play in the deaf community.

This month marked the 100,000th time Australians who are deaf have used the Australian Government’s interpreting services for their medical and health consultations.

“This invaluable service, delivered by Wesley Mission Brisbane, provides deaf people with access to interpreter services when attending medical appointments,” Senator McLucas said.

The Australian Government provides $4 million annually to support the National Auslan Interpreter Booking and Payment Service.

“Making over 16,000 appointments each year, NABS provides a single point of contact to book and pay for accredited Auslan interpreters.”

The service is provided free for all private medical consultations that attract a Medicare rebate, as well as a range of other specific health care consultations, including physiotherapy.

“It is giving deaf people every opportunity to access quality services, while giving them greater independence in the community,” Senator McLucas said.

“We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from this fantastic service from clients, medical practitioners, and the estimated 500 interpreters across the country.”

A customer of NABS said, “NABS makes my life a lot easier and I can look after all my medical appointments by myself.”

A doctor said “Big difference! Before we guessed what our clients were saying but now we have an interpreter we get the right information.”

I have had clients brought to tears (of joy) as it was the first time they had an interpreter for a medical procedure and they finally knew what was happening,” one interpreter said.

The NABS also offers an online Diploma of Interpreting for people interested in becoming an Auslan interpreter. Since 2008, 23 people have graduated as accredited paraprofessionals.

“The NABS is ensuring Australians who are deaf continue to receive quality support in the community.”

The NABS operate from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm on Saturday. For more information, visit or phone 1800 246 948.