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Free interpreting services
Key initiatives apply to the Free Interpreting Service NGO category from 1 August 2013
From 1 August 2013, a number of key initiatives have been implemented to enhance and streamline the administration of the Free Interpreting Service under the incorporated, not-for-profit, non-Government organisations (NGOs) delivering casework/emergency services 'NGO category'.
Eligibility for the Free Interpreting Service ('the Service') remains unchanged and the Service will continue to be available to approved organisations and individuals to communicate with non-English speaking Australian citizens and permanent residents.
As noted in the Department's correspondence to NGOs on 14 June 2013, access to the Service for existing organisations will be reviewed over the next three years in a phased manner. Existing organisations will be advised in writing 12 months prior to their TIS National client code expiring and invited to re-apply should they continue to need access to the Free Interpreting Service. Should re-application be successful, organisations would subsequently be provided with access to the Free Interpreting Service under the NGO category for a further period (up to a maximum of three years).
Further information on the key initiatives, including how these may affect your organisation is available:
New Initiatives for NGOs receiving Free Interpreting Services
Free Interpreting Service NGO category Frequently Asked Questions
The Australian Government, through TIS National, provides free interpreting services to non-English speaking Australian citizens and permanent residents communicating with the following approved groups and individuals:
- private medical practitioners (defined as General Practitioners and Medical Specialists) providing Medicare-rebateable services and their reception staff to arrange appointments and provide results of medical tests
See: Medical Board of Australia-Medical Specialities and Speciality Fields
- incorporated, not-for-profit, non-government, community-based organisations for casework and emergency services where the organisation does not receive substantial government funding to provide these services
Note: Organisations that require language services (such as interpreting) and receive substantial government funding should incorporate the cost of these services into their application for funding
- Members of Parliament for constituency purposes
- local government authorities to communicate with non-English speaking permanent residents and Australian citizens on issues such as rates, garbage collection and urban services
- trade unions to respond to members' enquiries or requests
- pharmacies for the purpose of dispensing Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medications.
Applying for the Free Interpreting Service under the incorporated, not-for-profit, non-government 'NGO category'
Incorporated, not-for-profit, non-government, community-based organisations can apply for the Free Interpreting Service through TIS National to support the delivery of casework and emergency services (which do not receive substantial government funding) that are provided to Australian citizens and permanent residents by applying online or downloading the application form. To apply, please complete the NGO application form for the Free Interpreting Service available on the TIS National website.
Further information on the Free Interpreting Service NGO category is available.
See: Free Interpreting Service NGO category Frequently Asked Questions
Settlement Grants Program (SGP) Providers may also access the Free Interpreting Service to assist with the delivery of the SGP to SGP clients.Â The SGP TIS National client code is valid for the duration of the SGP grant. To obtain an SGP TIS National client code, please contact TIS National Language policy liaison on 1300 575 847 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Â
Terms and conditions apply to NGOs receiving Free Interpreting Services from 1 August 2013
From 1 August 2013 consolidated terms and conditions will apply to all organisations that have access to the Free Interpreting Service under the NGO category (both new and existing organisations).Â The defined terms and conditions will make it easier for NGOs to understand their rights and responsibilities when using the Free Interpreting Service.
Clauses 4 and 11 of the terms and conditions will apply immediately to new TIS National client codes issued under the NGO category on or after 1 August 2013.
For all existing TIS National client code holders, clauses 4 and 11 will only apply after the code has been reviewed and access is renewed.
The terms and conditions are available on the TIS National website.
Registration for the Free Interpreting Service under any of the other approved listed categories
To register for the Free Interpreting Service under any of the other approved categories, please contact TIS National Language policy liaison on 1300 575 847 or email: email@example.com.
Free translating service
The Australian Government also provides a free translating service, through TIS National, for people settling permanently in Australia. Permanent residents, eligible temporary/provisional visa holders and Australian citizens are able to have personal documents translated into English during their initial two year settlement period.
Detailed information about the free translating service is available online.
See: Help with Translations
Doctors Priority Line
The Doctors Priority Line is a free telephone interpreting service which helps medical practitioners to communicate with their non-English speaking patients.
General practitioners and eligible medical specialists can use the Doctors Priority Line when providing services that are:
- claimable under Medicare
- delivered in private practices
- provided to non-English speakers who are Australian citizens or permanent residents.
Doctors who are not currently registered for the Doctors Priority Line who meet the above criteria can arrange access to the service with TIS National by completing the online 'register for a TIS National client code' form available on TIS National's website. A PDF version of the medical practitioners registration form is also available on request from TIS National Language policy liaison team.
Phone: 1300 575 847
Phone interpreting service for pharmacies
Free interpreting services are available to pharmacies for the purpose of dispensing Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medications. This scheme is aimed at assisting pharmacists to communicate with permanent residents and Australian citizen about the proper use of medications.
To date more than 1700 pharmacies have registered for use of the service.
Lists of registered pharmacies are available by state and territory on the TIS National website.
Phone interpreting service for real estate agencies Pilot
A Pilot providing free phone interpreting services to licenced real estate agencies has been expanded across Australia to include more areas of new settlement. Any licenced real estate agency operating in one of the eligible areas of new settlement can now register with TIS National for free phone interpreting services to communicate with non-English speaking permanent residents and Australian citizens. The expanded Pilot is the result of an evaluation of the 'TIS National real estate agencies Pilot' (October 2011 â€“ August 2013) which allowed nominated real estate agencies across Australia access to free phone interpreting services through TIS National. The expanded Pilot will operate until 30 June 2015.
More information about the Real Estate Agencies Pilot expansion to more areas of new settlement is available.
See: Free phone interpreting services for real estate agencies