Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Centrelink – Helping Multicultural Australia

Today’s launch of Centrelink’s strategy for delivering services to customers of non-English speaking backgrounds is another example of the agency’s commitment to provide excellent customer service.

‘Delivering Multicultural Services 2002 – 2004’ is Centrelink’s vision for the way it will serve customers who are from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

More than 1.5 million of Centrelink’s 5.6 million customers were born in non-English speaking countries. Around 1.1 million of these customers speak a language other than English at home.

Australia is one of the four great immigration experiments. Aside from the small proportion of full blooded Indigenous Australians, everyone of us has the blood of immigrants – people who were prepared to leave another place to make a better life here.

The vision statement aims to guarantee all Centrelink customers, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background, access to high quality customer service and equity in treatment.

It is a commitment to multicultural Australia and states that the government’s programs will be delivered in ways that are sensitive to, and understanding of their special needs.

It will ensure that the needs of multicultural Australia are integrated into Centrelink’s operation, goals and mission.

With so many of it’s customers from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, Centrelink, through this vision, ‘Delivering Multicultural Services 2002 – 2004’, will make a positive difference and target many of its programs to multicultural Australia.