SBS Radio adds seven language groups to portfolio

Seven new language groups are being added to SBS Radio’s portfolio to support Australia’s growing migrant communities.

The Hakha Chin, Mongolian, Kirundi, Tibetan and Karen programmes launch on Monday 28 May, with Rohingya and Telugu coming soon. 

The dedicated, in-language podcasts will be available digitally and for free, and will include a news service, settlement information and community updates.

SBS’s first-ever Tibetan language producer, Pema Dolkar, arrived in Australia as a refugee, and said that despite the trauma many newly arrived refugees had experienced, “the Tibetan culture is very community-based. So when the newly arrived refugees come to Australia, they usually get very strong support.”

SBS Radio’s Kirundi producer Mireille Kayeye says most speakers from her community arrived in Australia through the humanitarian program.

“Most of the Burundians who are living in Australia are Burundians who were resettled here on a humanitarian visa, mostly coming from the refugee camp in Tanzania, fleeing civil conflict and the long history of violence in Burundi.”

More than one in five Australians now speaks a language besides English at home, marking a significant increase compared to 20 years ago, when it just over one in seven.

Many of those languages are new to Australia, and numbers in the communities that speak them are growing.

SBS Radio currently produces content in 68 languages, a service that has evolved since 1975 to meet the changing needs of Australia’s migrant communities.

SBS Radio’s Content Manager Mark Cummins said: “We have a look at recentness of arrival, whether or not people have good English in the community”.

“In the case of these new languages, they came out on top, in terms of having high needs and they really do need help in transitioning and learning about how life works in Australia.”