Key messages

  • Victoria is Australia’s most culturally diverse state.
  • We need health services and health professionals who can deliver culturally responsive and equitable services, to ensure the whole population receives quality healthcare.
  • Several initiatives and resources support health services and health professionals to deliver services that are appropriate for and responsive to Victoria’s CALD communities.

Victoria’s culturally and linguistically diverse population

Victoria is Australia’s most culturally diverse state, with almost one quarter of our population born overseas. Victorians come from over 230 countries, speak over 200 languages and follow more than 120 different faiths.

For this reason, we need health services and health professionals who can deliver culturally responsive and equitable services, to ensure the whole population receives quality healthcare.

The following initiatives and resources support health services and health professionals to deliver services that are appropriate for and responsive to Victoria’s culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

Cultural diversity plan – Delivering for diversity

The Department of Health and Human Services Cultural diversity plan 'Delivering for diversity' provides a framework for the department to embed cultural diversity in all its services, programs and policies. In doing so, the plan builds on the department’s wide ranging efforts to improve service access and effectiveness for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

These communities include those with a long established presence in Victoria, as well as recently arrived migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers. The plan aligns with Victoria’s multicultural objectives to:

  • maximise the benefits of our cultural diversity
  • build the capacity of culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • promote social cohesion and community resilience
  • ensure that our services and infrastructure respond to the cultural diversity of our state.

Delivering for diversity - Cultural diversity plan 2016-2019 has been developed as part of the department’s obligations under the Multicultural Diversity Act 2011. 

Language Services Credit Line

The Department of Health & Human Services funds the Language Services Credit Line, which provides access to telephone interpreting, on-site interpreting and translation for eligible Victorian government funded services. 

The Victorian Translation and Interpreting Service is the current provider.

A PDF of the guidelines is available for Health Programs credit line. 

The Language Services Credit Line is comprised of two streams: Health Programs and Human Services Programs. 

Translations checklist

The translations checklist helps programs and funded organisations use translated written materials to provide services.

Resources for CALD communities

Health translations directory

Health services and professionals (and others working with CALD communities) can use the health translations directory to find translated health information in a range of languages. The directory provides web links to third party sites with translated resources. Those sites include government departments, peak health bodies, hospitals, and community health and welfare agencies. You can search by language and topic.

Making the connection: on-line training resource

Health services can use the ‘Making the connection’ on-line resource to learn how to work with interpreters. The resource is a series of dramatised scenes that demonstrate how to work with interpreters in service provision situations.

Services to help make health providers more responsive

Cultural responsiveness framework

The Cultural responsiveness framework: Guidelines for Victorian health services aims to improve and extend the cultural responsiveness of Victorian health services. It specifies six standards and improvement measures for culturally responsive practice:

  • Standard 1: Health service demonstrates a whole-of-organisation approach to cultural responsiveness
  • Standard 2: Health service demonstrates leadership for cultural responsiveness
  • Standard 3: Health service provides accredited interpreters for patients who need one
  • Standard 4: Health service demonstrates inclusive practice in care planning, including but not limited to dietary, spiritual, family, attitudinal and other cultural practices
  • Standard 5: Health service involves CALD consumer, carer and community members in planning, improving and reviewing programs and services
  • Standard 6: Health service provides staff at all levels with professional development opportunities to enhance their cultural responsiveness.

Measures and sub-measures guide health services to achieve the standards. Health services can tailor the measures and sub-measures to meet their needs and their communities’ needs. They report their progress towards the standards in annual quality of care reports.

Cultural competence education for health professionals

The project ‘Cultural competence education for health professionals’ aims to provide staff at all levels with professional development opportunities to enhance their cultural responsiveness. The project involved reviewing evidence-based literature to develop an educational model – including content, teaching and learning methods – that Victorian public health services can use.

A review summary is available.