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Aboriginal interpreter service in Western Australia



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MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Peter Baume

ABORIGINAL INTERPRETER SERVICE IN W ESTERN AUSTRALIA

Aboriginals in Western Australia will benefit from the establishment of an Aboriginal interpreter service, to be funded by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Peter Baume, said that he was delighted that the service, which begins next week (June 8) would help Aboriginals understand more about medical treatment available to them.

The Department o f Aboriginal Affairs will provide $20,000 for it s operation next year. Plans to introduce the interpreter service were proposed by the President of the Abori'ginal Medical Service in Perth, Mr. Robert Isaacs.

"The interpreter service, operated by the Aboriginal Medical Service, will explain medical treatment to those Aboriginals who speak only Aboriginal dialects and therefore make i t less frightening and more understandable for them", Senator Baume said.

"Often Aboriginal people who are sent to Perth for urgent- medical treatment from remote areas of the State are unable to understand the diagnosis of their condition or the treatment needed.

"Speed and co-operation of the patient is essential in these cases", Senator Baume said. - . 7 .

The Minister explained the operation of the se rv ice.

"When calls for language ass istance are received by the Aboriginal Medical Service they contact an Aboriginal l i n g u i s t who, i f required, i s taken directly to the patient to a s s i s t medical s t a f f .

"If the scheme i s successful i t could be extended to other areas where Aboriginal people are disadvantaged, such as legal and welfare counselling", Senator Baume said.

CANBERRA JUNE 4, 1981

For further information, please contact Miss Mary Fisher 062 72 6650