One in five Queenslanders are born overseas, more than a third are either overseas born or have at least one parent born overseas, Queenslanders speak more than 220 languages and approximately one in 10 Queenslanders speaks a language other than English at home.
Overseas migration continues to be the largest contributor to the state’s growing population. In 2013-14, Queensland received 10,610 permanent settlers from other than mainly English-speaking countries. From 2011 to June 2014, almost 7,000 new humanitarian entrants have settled in Queensland (Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 2014).
It is estimated that there are approximately 203,000 persons of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds in Queensland and many reside in remote communities retaining their own language.
This data confirms the continuing need for access to professional, credentialled interpreters and translators in Queensland.
In 2008 the Queensland Government introduced a policy requiring Queensland Government agencies which fund non-government organisations to deliver services on their behalf to make provisions in their budgets for meeting the costs of interpreter services.
The Queensland Government Language Services Policy and Guidelines released in July 2014 mandates that State Government agencies and non-government service providers funded by the State Government engage credentialed interpreters for service users who have low English language proficiency (at no cost to non-Government service providers and at no cost to service users).
The Queensland Accessing Interpreters Working Group (QAIWG) have developed a policy guideline and policy template on engaging and working with interpreters to model how organisations can manage access to interpreters for clients with difficulty communicating in English.