SBS Radio App

Download the FREE SBS Radio App for a better listening experience

27 Sep 2021 - 7:36 AM  UPDATED 1 Oct 2021 - 3:55 PM

Large Languages Criteria 

SBS is proposing that ‘large’ languages will be included if there are 25,000 or more people who speak that language in Australia as per the 2021 Census data. 

The population size of language communities is determined by the 2021 Census question:  'Does the person speak a language other than English at home?'’    


High Needs Languages Criteria  

SBS is proposing to have a minimum of 15 ‘high needs’ languages, with at least 1,000 people speaking these languages at home as per the Australian Census 2021 data.  

The population size of language communities is determined by the 2021 Census question:  'Does the person speak a language other than English at home?'’    

SBS believes that language communities with low English language skills, recent arrivals to Australia, ageing communities and those with low household incomes are the most in need of SBS’s services. These Census indicators have been given relative weightings which when combined, create the high needs index as set out below: 

  • English language proficiency (weight = 45%): migrants with low English proficiency face greater challenges to settling in Australia because they have limited options to access Australian news and information. 

  • Recentness of arrival (weight = 30%): newly arrived migrants  need access to Australian news and information to facilitate successful settlement. 

  • Ageing (weight = 15%): language groups with an older age profile will receive a higher index. 

  • Household income (weight = 10%): language audiences with lower net disposable incomes will receive a higher index. 

Other Factors    

SBS is proposing to include a sizeable ethnic community if its needs are significant but not adequately captured in the Large Language or High Needs Selection Criteria. 

In addition, for this Review we are proposing to take into account the  

  • Socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian community; and 

  • Language services provided by all parts of the organisation. 

SBS is very aware of the impact COVID-19 has had on Australia’s multicultural communities and this will be considered throughout the Language Services Review.  

The 2021 Census data will be a key tool to uncover the short and longer-term potential impacts of COVID-19 on Australian society, however SBS is also aware the pandemic may impact the key Census measures utilised for the Language Services Review and this will be considered. The impact will not be known until the Census data is released. 


What happens next?

 The SBS Language Services Review contains the following stages:  


5th October-12th November 2021 

Public consultation on the draft Language Selection Criteria.  


May 2022 

Publish final Language Selection Criteria 


June 2022 

Australian Census 2021 data released 


October 2022 

Changes to SBS Radio Services announced, including revised languages to be services and how each language service will be delivered – e.g., via AM/FM, digital radio, digital television, online and/or podcast  


November 2022 

Revised SBS Language Services implemented