The Victorian Budget 2017-18 provided $21.8 million over four years and $8.4 million per year ongoing to improve access to interpreter services.
The funding secures the right volume and quality of professionally accredited interpreters to meet the current and future needs of Victoria's linguistically diverse communities and ensures equal access to government services regardless of English language skills. This is the largest single funding increase for interpreter services in Victoria's history.
The funding supports Victoria's interpreting services by:
- increasing remuneration rates for contractor interpreters,
- introducing standard payment to interpreters to compensate for travel to regional locations, and
- upskilling the interpreter workforce, including through professional development and training opportunities.
Read the media release from the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. Robin Scott MP.
To deliver on this commitment, the Victorian Government has commissioned Aspex Consulting to undertake the language services procurement reform project. In consultation with key industry stakeholders, the project will investigate how to best improve current and future procurement arrangements to deliver the increased funding and build the capacity of interpreting services.
The project is expected to be completed by early 2018 and project updates will be available at multicultural.vic.gov.au.
An independent review of Victorian Government procurement of language services conducted in 2016-17 found that levels of interpreter remuneration, work conditions and job security are having a significant impact on industry sustainability.