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New multilingual signs welcome all cultures

District's signage promotes a sense of belonging.

Graphic of languages spoken in the District
SydneyConnect Image: New colourful welcome signs

Huan Ying 欢迎

Ahlan Bik  أهلا بك

Kalos Irthate ΚΑΛΩΣ ΗΡΘΑΤΕ

Everyone is welcome in Sydney Local Health District.

New colourful welcome signs in 15 languages are set to be displayed in services and facilities across the District to promote inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging.

“Signage has an important role in making people feel they belong”, Barbara Luisi, the Director of the District’s Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub, said.

“We want patients and visitors to instantly feel welcome in our hospitals and facilities, no matter what their cultural background. While it’s a small thing, being welcomed in your own language is a great start,” she said.

The sign says “welcome” in languages commonly spoken in the District – Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, Bengali, Nepali, Indonesian, Mongolian, Portuguese and Hindi.

There is also a message letting patients and visitors know about their right to free and confidential interpreting services.

“Respect for cultural diversity is integral to all we do,” Renee Moreton, the District’s General Manager of Population Health, said.

“As home for people from many cultural backgrounds, it’s absolutely vital we respect and value cultural differences in our patients, families and carers. It is a privilege to work in an area of such rich cultural diversity,” she said.

Data shows 44 per cent of residents living in the District were born overseas. About 200 languages are spoken in the local community with 55 per cent of the population speaking a non-English language at home.

“We are committed to making our health services responsive and adaptive to the growing and changing needs of multicultural communities,” Ms Moreton said.

The multilingual welcome sign follows a landmark year in the District’s work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

So far, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 300 resources have been developed in 20 languages, including Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Korean, Nepali and Vietnamese.

The District is continuing to work closely with local community organisations and ethnic media to ensure accurate and updated information reaches migrant communities.

And, the District also provided more than 500 hours of bilingual staff support at COVID-19 testing clinics at Burwood, Campsie, Lakemba, Pyrmont and Roselands.