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 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.

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  communities.

Language Services Innovation Grants 

Established in 2017, the Language Services Innovation Grants Program aims to improve the capacity of public hospitals to provide effective and responsive language services in acute settings in Victoria.

Applications for the 2017 funding have now closed. The next round of grants will be announced in early 2019. 

Cultural diversity plan – Delivering for diversity

The Department of Health and Human Services cultural diversity plan Delivering for diversity - cultural diversity plan 2016-19 provides a framework for the department to embed cultural diversity in all its services, programs and policies. 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.

The plan was developed as part of the department’s obligations under the Multicultural Diversity Act 2011

Language services policy

The department’s Language services policy supports the department and its funded services to respond to the needs of linguistically diverse people, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and those who use sign language.

The Language services policy identifies when language services should be offered to clients based on legislative requirements and best-practice service delivery. Department-funded organisations and services are encouraged to develop their own language services policies and procedures consistent with this policy.

The policy is available on the department's corporate website

Language Services Credit Line

The department funds two language services credit lines, which provides access to telephone interpreting, on-site interpreting and translation.

Eligible Victorian Government funded services or departmental staff and some eligible organisations in receipt of Commonwealth Home Support Programme funding can access the credit line.

The credit line comprises two streams: Health Programs and Human Services Programs. For more information contact the department using the contact details available on this page. 

Language Loop (formerly Victorian Translation and Interpreting Service or VITS) is the current service provider.

Conditions of use and information on how to make a booking through the credit line can be found in the following documents. 

DHHS Language Services Credit Line - health programs – guidelines for use 

DHHS Language Services Credit Line – human services – access guide

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 variety 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.

Visit the Health Translations Directory

Making the connection: on-line training resource

Health services can use Making the connection, an online resource that uses dramatisation to demonstrate how to work with interpreters while providing services. 

Making the connection resources are available on this page.