Issue 25 – Spring 2010 - Centrelink

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					The Journey
Issue 25 • Spring 2010

Wonder Women—Going Back to ‘P’ Work project
Since 2008, the Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre in Mirrabooka, Western Australia, has supported women from African, Asian and Middle
Eastern backgrounds to develop knowledge and skills to improve their employability.

This support is provided through a job search skills project known as The Wonder Women—Going Back to ‘P’ Work project. Ishar staff members, who were
greatly inspired by clients visiting the centre, developed the project name. These clients are mostly women of refugee backgrounds who have survived war
and trauma in their countries of origin. Having arrived in Australia, they are still able to have a positive outlook on life and an eagerness to get into paid (‘P’)
employment. Staff members are in awe of the strength and resilience of these women. They are ‘wonder women’.

The project is funded by the Western Australian Department of Training and Workforce Development (formerly the Western Australian Department of
Education and Training), through the ‘VET (Vocational Education and Training) Equity Development and Innovation Pave the Way’ program. It is delivered
through three series of workshops for each regional group (Middle Eastern, African and Asian) and assists participants to develop their job search skills for
Australian employers.

Each series includes workshops on various components of work such as writing a resumé; understanding the Australian workplace; knowing the rights and
duties of employers and employees; speaking and writing English in the workplace; job-seeking and interview skills; addressing selection criteria; and
identifying barriers and opportunities to further education, training and employment.

In addition, participants are given support for an extra six months and access to resources in the wider community that will enhance their ability to work or

The project has met with great success and has been recognised by the funding body as a ‘good practice model’.
Of the 168 enrolments since 2008, 142 women have completed the workshops. Many of the women who have participated in the program have enrolled in
further studies in areas like aged care, computer skills, hospitality, education, asset maintenance and community services. Some have already completed
qualifications in these areas and secured casual employment.

The program’s success is made possible by the strong partnerships of all those involved: the bi-cultural workers who support participants along the way;
Mercy Care Community Services; and the members of the project steering committee—Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre, Department of Training and
Workforce Development, Polytechnic West Balga Campus, Edmund Rice from the ‘Connections Project’; and Multicultural Service Officer at Centrelink
Mirrabooka, Gemachu Denbali. Credit for success must also be given to the participants, as they show continued enthusiasm and the will to create a
successful future for themselves and their families.

Welcome to the spring 2010 edition of The Journey.

This edition includes stories on a range of exciting community events, as well as new initiatives benefiting customers.

Highlights include the Harmony Day celebrations enjoyed by Centrelink staff and members of the community across Australia. Harmony Day promotes the
benefits of cultural diversity, community participation, cohesion, inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.

There is also information on changes to available services, including student income support, and alignment of percentage of care calculations by the Family
Assistance Office and Child Support Agency.

We have included a feature about Pulse—the new, interactive newsletter for people with a disability, along with details of a variety of fantastic community
events designed to support Australians from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

We strive to make The Journey relevant, engaging and useful to our readers and welcome your feedback on how we can improve it. If you would like to give
feedback on The Journey or Centrelink’s service delivery to multicultural customers, please contact us:

If you are not on the mailing list and would like to receive future editions of The Journey, please send your request to the same email address.

Many thanks for your continued support as we endeavour to better serve Australia’s multicultural community.

Wonder Women—Going Back to ‘P’ Work project                      1
Foreword                                                         2
Upcoming events                                                  3
Introducing Tanya Plibersek, MP, the new
Minister for Human Services and Social Inclusion                 3
Centrelink Multicultural Advisory Forums                         3
Families                                                               4
Changes to the determination of care by the Family Assistance Office and the Child Support Agency                            4
Students                                                               5
Changes to income support for students                                 5
Ilness, injury or disability                                           6
Centrelink’s Pulse—news, views + things to do for DSP customers                            6
Help for people with disability to get back into the workforce                 6
Seniors                                                                7
Have you heard?                                                        7
Other news                                                             8
A warning about illegal super schemes                                  8
Your community                                                         8
Chinese Seniors Expo                                                   8
Harmony Day celebrations                                               9

Disclaimer: The Commonwealth of Australia has attempted to ensure the information in this publication is accurate. However, the Commonwealth does not warrant that the
information is accurate or complete nor will it be liable for any loss suffered by any person because they rely in any way on it. You should contact your local Centrelink office
for full details of any entitlements and services to which you may be eligible, or how any pending changes in legislation, programs or services may affect you.

Introducing Tanya Plibersek, MP, the new
Minister for Human Services and Social Inclusion
Tanya Plibersek became the new Minister for Human Services and Minister for Social Inclusion after the recent Federal Election.

Tanya grew up in the southern suburbs of Sydney, the youngest of three children. Her parents emigrated from Slovenia in the 1950s.

Before entering Parliament in 1998, Tanya was Women’s Officer at the University of Technology, Sydney and worked for the Domestic Violence Unit at
the NSW Government’s Office for the Status and Advancement of Women. She has completed a Master of Politics and Public Policy at Macquarie
University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications (Hons) from the University of Technology, Sydney.

In her maiden speech to Parliament, Tanya highlighted her strong interest in social justice and her belief in ordinary people working together to achieve
positive change.

Tanya has a long standing interest in the human services area, including as Shadow Minister for Human Services in 2006 and 2007 and as Minister for
Housing and Minister for the Status of Women, where services to the community played a key role.
As Minister for Housing, Tanya delivered almost $5 billion in new funding for affordable housing and homelessness services as part of the ambitious target
to halve the rate of homelessness by 2020.
As Minister for the Status of Women, Tanya drafted the National Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.
Tanya is a strong supporter of the principles of service delivery reform—which aims to deliver better services based on what the community needs and
expects—and is looking forward to delivering programs that further improve the lives of Australians through their dealings with the Human Services
On a personal note, Tanya lives in Sydney with her husband Michael and children Anna, Joseph and baby Louis born on Friday 1 October.

Upcoming events

 Date                Event                      What is it?

 24 October          United Nations Day         Marks the anniversary of the United Nations Charter coming into force in 1945.

 11 November         Remembrance Day           Marks the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War (1914–18). Australia
                                               observes one minute silence at 11.00 am in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and
                                               armed conflicts.

 16 November         International Day of       An annual observance declared by the United Nations in 1995 to generate public awareness of the
                     Tolerance                  dangers of intolerance.

 18 December         International              Celebrates the achievements and highlights the struggles of migrants around the world.
                     Migrants Day     
 25 December      Christmas Day            Public holiday on Monday 27 December 2010 in lieu of 25 December 2010 which is a Saturday*. A
                                           Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. (Australia-wide)

 26 December      Boxing Day               Public holiday celebrated on Tuesday 28 December 2010 in lieu of 26 December 2010 which is a
                                           Sunday*. Traditionally celebrated the day after Christmas Day. (Australia-wide)

* Centrelink Customer Service Centres will be closed on public holidays in some areas. Check Centrelink’s website or contact
  your Multicultural Service Officer for public holiday arrangements.

Centrelink Multicultural Advisory Forums

 Forums                                                               Future meetings           Contact

 Australian Capital Territory Multicultural Advisory Committee        9 October 2010            Richard Harman             (02) 6219 3233

 Northern Territory Multicultural Advisory Committee                  5 November 2010           Katherine Yuen             (08) 8936 3844

 Victoria Multicultural Advisory Committee                            25 November 2010          Maria Axarlis-Coulter      (03) 9963 9291

 Queensland Multicultural Advisory Committee                          18 November 2010          Queenie Balaba             (07) 3000 3236

 New South Wales Multicultural Advisory Forum                         7 December 2010           Berna Karadag              (02) 8512 0930

 Western Australia Centrelink Multicultural Consultative Forum        14 December 2010          Ljiljana Djordjevic        (08) 9238 9012

Changes to the determination of care by the Family Assistance
Office and the Child Support Agency
What has changed?
The Family Assistance Office (FAO) and the Child Support Agency (CSA) now use the same rules to work out the percentage of care provided by parents to
a child or children for family assistance and child support.

How will the changes help parents?
Parents receiving family assistance and child support will only need to have their percentage of care assessed once by either FAO or the CSA. The other
agency will then be notified of any changes in their percentage of care and will update their details automatically. Parents can contact either of these
agencies regarding a change in their circumstances.

When can parents apply for a care determination under the new rules?
Any parent who had their percentage of care assessed before 1 July 2010, can now apply to have their percentage of care worked out under the new rules.

What happens if a parent disagrees with a percentage of care decision?
If a parent disagrees with a decision that has been made about their percentage of care, they should contact the agency that made the decision.

Will changes to a parent’s percentage of care affect other Australian Government payments?
Changes to a parent’s percentage of care could affect their eligibility or rate of payment for some entitlements. Centrelink will contact any customer if their
entitlements are affected by a change in care.
Note to parents of children who live in Western Australia: Different rules may apply if a child and the receiving parent live in Western Australia, and the
parents were not married at the time of the child’s birth. This is expected to change when the Western Australian Parliament adopts the federal legislation
containing the most recent changes to the Child Support Scheme.

For more information:
visit or call Centrelink on 13 6150 or CSA on 13 1272, or visit your local CSA office or Centrelink Customer
   Service Centre to speak to Centrelink in a language other than English call 13 1202.
Changes to income support for students
Youth Allowance and other student payments have changed to provide stronger support to students who need it most. The changes improve accessibility
to higher education for a greater number of students.

There were several changes to student income support this year, including:
        The Parental Income Test threshold. For dependent Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY (Living Allowance) and Assistance for Isolated Children
         (Additional Boarding Allowance) customers, this threshold has increased. Students with parental income of up to $44 165 a year will now
         qualify for the full rate of payment, not taking into account any earnings a student may receive from employment. Students with parental
         income greater than $44 165 should contact Centrelink to test their eligibility for payment. The new parental income test also takes into
         account the number and circumstances of any dependent children in the family who receive Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY to determine the
         customer’s rate of payment.

   Many students have become eligible as a result of the increased income test threshold and students already receiving income support may receive an
   increase in their payment.
        New scholarships for students. These include a Student Start-up Scholarship for students in qualifying higher education courses receiving
         income support, and a Relocation Scholarship for dependent students in qualifying higher education courses who need to move away from
         home to study. Some independent students can also qualify for the Relocation Scholarship.
        The age of independence. This has been reduced from 25 to 24 years. The age of independence will be reduced to 23 years from 1 January
         2011 and to 22 years from 1 January 2012.
        Changes to workforce independence criteria. These have occurred to ensure income support is more effectively targeted to students from
         low-income backgrounds. Students now need to work 30 hours per week on average for at least 18 months in any two-year period to be
         considered financially independent from their parents. However, students who took a gap year in 2009 with the intention of studying in
         2010 and who meet certain criteria, will still be able to test their eligibility under the previous rules.
        Scholarship impact on income tests. For students who receive an equity or merit-based scholarship, up to $6762 of this scholarship will be
         exempt from the personal income test. This means that these scholarships, usually paid by universities or philanthropic organisations, will
         have less of an impact on a student’s fortnightly Centrelink payment.

The following changes will occur from January 2011:
        Eligibility for independence. From January 2011, students who live in outer regional, remote or very remote areas, who have to move away
         from home to study and whose parents earn less than $150 000 a year, will be eligible for independence under the previous workforce
         participation rules.

There will also be changes from January 2012:
        Masters student support. More Masters students will be eligible to receive income support to help them with the cost of living while studying for
         further qualifications. Students undertaking any Masters by coursework program will be able to access income support payments such as Youth
         Allowance and Austudy from 1 January 2012.
        Income test change. A more generous income test for students will take effect from 1 July 2012, so they can earn more from part-time work
         before their payments are reduced.

These changes may affect any customer who is currently studying or planning to study. Customers who wish to discuss their situation should contact
Centrelink on 13 2490, visit their local Customer Service Centre or for more information visit the Centrelink website

To speak to Centrelink in a language other than English call 13 1202.
   Illness, injury or disability

Help for people with disability to get back into the workforce
There are a number of programs to help people on Disability Support Pension (DSP) who may have some capacity to work or train, now or in the future.

Apart from financial benefits, working provides people with a range of opportunities, such as meeting new people, increasing skills and being involved in the

Centrelink is here to provide encouragement and support and can help people on DSP who have the capacity to work by referring them to appropriate
employment services. Employment services will provide assistance in returning to the workforce or keeping a job.

Some of the options, services and payments available to DSP customers who wish to work, study or train include:
        Disability Employment Services
        New Enterprise Incentive Scheme
        Job in Jeopardy assistance
        Mobility Allowance
        Pensioner Education Supplement.

For more information about any of the programs and services available to people with a disability, visit the Centrelink website, call
13 2717 or visit a Customer Service Centre. To speak to Centrelink in a language other than English call 13 1202.
Centrelink’s Pulse—news, views + things to do for DSP customers
Pulse is Centrelink’s new disability community newsletter. Pulse will keep customers who receive Disability Support Pension (DSP) up-to-date with the
latest news on disability-related programs, services and payments.

Pulse is also the beginning of a community for people who receive DSP. Customers who receive DSP can share their experiences, lives and achievements
with others by submitting articles and news stories.

Customers can register to receive the newsletter by email and receive the latest edition as soon as it becomes available. The e-newsletter links to the Pulse
website. The website allows users to access the Pulse online community, which is more interactive with video, opinion polls and offers more detailed
information on current issues and stories.

Customers can have their voice heard on issues that affect them, enter competitions and let others know about upcoming events for the disability community.
We hope that the Pulse online community builds a growing network of people who share news and information, and who keep up-to-date with DSP news
from Centrelink.

The first edition of Pulse was issued in July 2010. All Centrelink customers living in Australia who receive DSP were sent a copy in the mail. For more
information or to register to receive the e-newsletter visit

Have you heard?
When most people think of hearing loss, they usually associate this with hearing aids—typically the old-fashioned ones that wrap around the ear.

Research suggests that most people avoid doing something about their hearing loss because they do not want the cost or inconvenience of a hearing aid. In
fact, many people put up with the problem for an average of seven years before seeking help. As a result, they increase their risk of becoming
disconnected from social situations, friends and family, as well as limit their access to in-language radio and television programs.

Innovations in technology for assistive listening devices have delivered new gadgets and types of hearing aids that are less conspicuous and more
affordable. Skilled audiologists and clinicians can assist with diagnosing hearing problems and recommending the best available solutions—including a
simple mix of techniques and devices to help in everyday situations.

Hearing assistance devices do not always need to be installed by a technician and cost significantly less than a hearing aid. They include:
         headphones specifically for watching television
         headphones specifically for listening to radios or stereos
         hearing aids that attach to the earpiece of a phone, to amplify its ring and the volume of the incoming voice
         devices to replace doorbells that flash or vibrate to alert users to a visitor.

Principal Audiologist at Australian Hearing, Janette Thorburn, said such equipment is very effective for people with particular hearing needs.

‘These devices work by delivering a clear signal directly to a user’s ear, overcoming the effects of distance between the listener and the sound source, and
the effects of background noise to deliver clearer sound,’ she said.

Australian Hearing aims to ensure that clients from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds receive accessible and effective services, including on-line
multilingual information and the provision of interpreters at appointments when required. In addition, Australian Hearing offers free hearing health talks,
hearing screenings and in-service seminars for community groups at their own premises.

Customers who require an interpreter can call 13 1450 (TIS National) and ask to be connected to Australian Hearing. For more information contact 13 1797
or visit           news

A warning about illegal super schemes
People need to beware of people offering to help withdraw their superannuation (super) early, for a fee. Schemes encouraging early access to super are
illegal and attract serious consequences and penalties. By breaking the laws governing access to super, individuals risk one or more of the following:
         having part or all of their super stolen
         hefty fines
         large tax bills
         jail sentences
         identity theft.

Super is designed to ensure that people have financial resources during their retirement. Super can be accessed early only in special circumstances, such as
extreme financial hardship or illness. Individuals seeking to do so must meet strict conditions. Advice on whether individuals can access their super before
retirement should come only from their super fund or the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

For more information visit the ATO website at or phone 13 1020 or 13 1450 if you require an interpreter. You can also
order the publication Illegal super schemes—beware of offers to withdraw your super early (NAT 14542) at or on 1300
720 092. This publication is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Filipino, Korean, Macedonian, Nepalese, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.
Your community
Chinese Seniors Expo
Seniors from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds face various day-to-day challenges living in Australia. In particular, language barriers can make
it difficult to learn about community services that offer support to make their lives easier.

The Australian Chinese Community Association (ACCA) held the Chinese Seniors Expo on 7 April 2010 at the Dougherty Community Centre in
Chatswood, Sydney to assist Chinese seniors overcome some of the daily challenges of living in a new country. The expo was an opportunity to help the
seniors in the area gain easy access to vital information about community services available to them. The free event included workshops, information stalls,
performances, traditional food and the opportunity for networking and socialising.

Centrelink was represented at the expo by Multicultural Service Officer Sreta Mrkic and Financial Information Service Officer Angela Ng. Centrelink’s
information stall attracted plenty of interest, providing a wide range of information products in Chinese. Angela also conducted a workshop in Cantonese on
Residential Care—Fees and Charges.

Centrelink and ACCA look forward to being involved in similar events in the future.

Harmony Day celebrations
Blacktown community festival
Blacktown Harmony Day celebrations were held on 18 March 2010 with a community festival held in Main Street.

Blacktown Centrelink supported the occasion by helping to organise the event and providing sausages for a free barbecue. Centrelink Financial Information
Service Officer Eleanor Dasco and Multicultural Service Officer Audra Rahme attended the event and ran an information stall.

The day attracted both the young and old from diverse backgrounds, who enjoyed face-painting, balloons, dancing, performances by a multicultural hip
hop group as well as other fun entertainment. There was also a get-together specifically for seniors acknowledging Seniors Week, which ran from 21 to 28

Other organisers of the festival included Sydwest Multicultural Service Inc., Macquarie Community College, NSW Police, Hillsong City Care, Break Thru
People Solutions, Blacktown City Council and the Family Relationship Centre.

Staff at Blacktown Centrelink celebrate
Centrelink staff at the Blacktown Customer Service Centre in New South Wales enjoyed a variety of multicultural foods during a shared lunch to celebrate
Harmony Day 2010.

In-keeping with this year’s ‘Express Yourself’ theme, attendees were provided with pens to write or draw on paper tablecloths. A collage of flags was
displayed at the event, each representing the home country of each staff member, as well as an exhibit of various items from each country. These included
items such as a money bag from China, a pair of traditional dancing shoes from Macedonia and a mortar and pestle from Lebanon, to name a few.

The lunch was a great success and staff enjoyed viewing the displays and guessing which country each flag belonged to.

Modbury CSC hosts Sudanese women and children
Sudanese women and their children from the Modbury Uniting Church International Women’s Day (MUCIWD) greatly appreciated the Harmony Day
celebrations at the Modbury Centrelink office in South Australia.

Wendy Sinnott of the MUCIWD said the visitors were very thankful for the welcome they received, along with a delicious lunch.

‘Large government departments can be very daunting, especially for newcomers to the country, and any effort that can be made in breaking down barriers is
always a positive outcome,’ she said.

She said they appreciated the ongoing support of Multicultural Service Officer Amalia Vosnakis, who is committed to assisting refugees and new
arrivals to settle into their new communities through sharing knowledge on how Centrelink can help them.

Northern Territory offices invite community partners
Colour, variety, fashion and food were on display during the Harmony Day celebrations on Saturday 21 March 2010 at Centrelink Customer Service Centres
(CSCs) throughout the Northern Territory.

The theme of this year’s celebrations was ‘Express Yourself’ and Centrelink staff in Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston did just that! Staff used a festive
orange colour scheme to decorate tearooms with Harmony Day banners and balloons, and many staff members sported cheerful orange clothing.

Harmony Day’s ongoing message is ‘Everyone Belongs’. On this day, cultural diversity and its benefits are celebrated and promoted through
community participation, cohesion, inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.

Centrelink staff took the opportunity—through action, performance, fashion and food—to share with others the importance of diversity in the workplace.

One of the day’s highlights was a visit to the Centrelink Area Office in Darwin by project officers of two community partners: Darwin Community Arts and
the Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory (MCNT).

Brenda Logan from Darwin Community Arts spoke to Centrelink staff about My Sister’s Kitchen, an initiative which provides the opportunity for newly
arrived migrants and refugees, as well as members of the local community, to meet together each week to cook food from various regions. The project
welcomes everyone, and the food is shared by participants at the end of the day.
Melanie Moore from MCNT spoke about their two projects Sewing Classes and The Homework Club. Sewing Classes encourage newly arrived
migrants and refugees to develop their skills, by sewing goods to sell to shops and individuals. A percentage of the profit is given to those involved.
The Homework Club provides free homework support for middle school and high school students from refugee and non-English speaking backgrounds.
Students are matched with volunteer tutors who specialise in their subject area. The Homework Club, run twice-weekly during the school term, has a
library and computer and internet facilities.

Certificates of appreciation were presented to coordinators of various events and CSCs throughout the area for their contribution to the very successful

More information on My Sister’s Kitchen, Sewing Classes and The Homework Club are available by contacting the Darwin Multicultural Service Officers—
Priya Desai on (08) 8936 3797 or Katherine Yuen on (08) 8936 3844.

Greek Festival of Sydney
The 28th Annual Greek Festival of Sydney, organised by the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales (GOC), was celebrated at Darling
Harbour on 20 and 21 March 2010. Centrelink Multicultural Service Officer Angela Illingworth and Marrickville Centrelink Manager Maria
Papaioannou supported the event with a Centrelink stall, providing a range of information in both Greek and English.

The festival is considered one of the most important events for the Greek community, and gives thousands the opportunity to experience Greek

GOC welcomed the supply of We Speak Your Language booklets—a guide to Centrelink customers’ options and Centrelink services—which were
available from Centrelink’s stand only a day after their release. Centrelink staff distributed bags to visitors according to their particular needs, and
answered many queries.

The entire event was a great success, attracting approximately 200 000 people. Marrickville Centrelink staff members were honoured to be a part of
the Greek-Australian community’s commitment to celebrating culture. They look forward to collaborating closely with GOC to further support the
Greek community in Marrickville and the surrounding areas.

Blacktown refugee seminar
Twenty Centrelink customers from refugee backgrounds attended a refugee seminar at the Blacktown Customer Service Centre on 7 April 2010. The
seminar provided Nepalese refugees with valuable information on a range of topics, from Centrelink’s services and payments, to rights at work, as
well as training and employment opportunities.

Guest speakers from NSW Industrial Relations, NSW Fair Trading and Mamre Plains Ltd, an organisation that offers a range of employment and
training opportunities, attended the event to speak about issues faced by the refugee community. Neil McGarvie from NSW Industrial Relations spoke
on rights at work, while NSW Fair Trading representative Xau Jing discussed issues regarding consumer rights, purchasing mobile phones and internet

Rosemary Anderson from Mamre Plains Ltd spoke on their Learn to Earn project. This project runs horticulture courses specifically for
unemployed refugees and offers participants the opportunity to work on a farm. Rosemary even brought fresh produce from the farm (including
tomatoes, lettuce, beans and radishes) for attendees to take home at the end of the session.

The seminar received excellent feedback, with customers saying they appreciated the valuable information provided in one place—particularly
because it was delivered to them in their own language.

Centrelink offers a big ‘thank you’ to NSW Industrial Relations, NSW Fair Trading and Mamre Plains Ltd for their involvement in this event.

Polytechnic West information session
Fifty lecturers from Polytechnic West in Western Australia recently took the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of Centrelink services for the
benefit of their students studying English through the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).

WA Multicultural Service Officer Camille Le Geois presented the session, which provided information about Centrelink payments, customer rights
and obligations and its multicultural services for migrants and refugees. Additional information was provided about AMEP students’ entitlements,
participation requirements and Centrelink forms.

Those attending found the session very useful, and many requested that the information session become an annual event. This provides an ongoing
opportunity to answer questions directly and make participants aware of changes to Centrelink services and new budget initiatives affecting their

Organisations interested in holding a similar information session for their staff and/or community should contact their local Centrelink Multicultural
Service Officer.

Centrelink collaborates with Monash University School of Languages
A new partnership between Centrelink and Monash University in Melbourne is giving students enrolled in new interpreting and translation courses an
opportunity to develop their skills and job opportunities.

In February this year, Monash University School of Languages began running a Masters course in Interpreting and Translation and a Professional
Development and Internship Program. Centrelink Victorian Language Services Coordinator, Ibrahim Ayzit, in conjunction with Dr Shani Tobias of
the university, later established a partnership between the two organisations.
The partnership provides opportunities for both the Masters and professional development students to learn about Centrelink’s Language Services,
including the panel of translators and interpreters used by Centrelink to communicate with customers who have a preferred language other than

Through the collaboration Monash University provides more employment opportunities for its students, and Centrelink supports the preparation and
procurement of translators and interpreters for its panel.

Ibrahim has presented to students of the university, with an enthusiastic response from course coordinator, Marc Orlando. He said it is very beneficial
for students—particularly those in their last semester—to hear about Centrelink’s work with interpreters.

Dr Shani Tobias was also pleased with the opportunity given to students to witness interpreters in a professional setting during a visit to the Springvale
Centrelink Customer Service Centre as part of their field study.

‘These kinds of field trips offer students a valuable insight into the ‘real-life’ working environments, which complement the skills they learn in the
course,’ she said.

The partnership contributes to achieving the aim of the course, which is to provide opportunities for future interpreters and translators to further
develop their skills and knowledge to effectively deliver language services in the community.
Centrelink in Victoria has been commended for its ongoing commitment to supporting employment pathways for interpreters in established and newly
emerging communities’ languages.


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