Language services needed

August 09, 2017

The English language school in Shepparton, pictured in 2010, has helped people of numerous cultures settle into the region.

The News has long stressed Shepparton’s multiculturalism is among its greatest strengths.

As localised data from last year’s census trickles through, the extent of the city’s spread of cultures and backgrounds is again being highlighted.

An analysis of census data by .id economics for Greater Shepparton City Council demonstrated at least one in 10 Shepparton residents comes from a non-English speaking background, while 11 per cent of us are bilingual.

More still, 15 per cent of the city’s population were born overseas.

Since 2011, Greater Shepparton’s international contingent has also increased by almost 20 per cent and those from a non-English speaking background in the city increased by more than 22 per cent.

But among the findings, it is also worth highlighting that 3 per cent of the city’s population reported difficulty with English.

This data and, in particular the spread of different cultures arriving in the region, should serve as a timely prompt of the different backgrounds of some in the region and in some cases of the hardships they have battled.

It reports some in the community do not have the basic language skills many of us take for granted.

It should also serve as a prompt on the need for non-English language services for those recently arrived and without fluent enough English to be able to access the most basic services.

Much of the city’s service sector does provide options with language specific hospital tours and translation options among some of the integration tools at the disposal of new arrivals.

Recent reports also indicate more than a dozen Syrian families from the war torn nation have also recently arrived or will be soon to arrive in the region.

A clear picture of what sort of community this intake will form will likely be highlighted in the nation’s next census.

In the meantime this data should serve as another reminder of the value this cultural diversity offers the region.

And also to offer a largely unnecessary reminder of the need for tolerance and acceptance that the Shepparton community showcases daily.

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