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27 Sep 2021 - 8:12 AM  UPDATED 1 Oct 2021 - 11:59 AM



What is the language services review? 

The Language Services Review is a process undertaken by SBS to examine our language offering and ensure our services reflect and meet the needs of Australia’s rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society.  The Review occurs every five years in conjunction with the Australian Census and considers factors such as the Census data, audience listening habits, migration to digital platforms, demographics and financial parameters.  


Why does SBS review its language services? 

As part of SBS’s commitment to continue evolving to meet the needs of contemporary Australia, SBS undertakes a regular review of its audio and language offering including radio, SBS On Demand, podcasting and other digital platforms to ensure it continues to reflect the needs of communities in Australia today. Regularly updating the services enables SBS to better service the largest communities with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and offer services to emerging high-needs communities.  


What is the timeline for the Language Services Review? 

The SBS Language Services Review contains the following stages: 

5th October-12th November 2021: 

Public consultation to seek feedback about the draft Selection Criteria. The Selection Criteria will be used in conjunction with 2021 Census data to determine the languages to be serviced by SBS Radio  

May 2022: 

Publish final Selection Criteria 

June 2022: 

Australian Census 2021 data released 

October 2022: 

Changes to SBS Radio Services announced, including revised languages to be serviced 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 




What is the Selection Criteria? 

The language Selection Criteria is a set of guidelines that will be applied to the Australian Census 2021 data to determine which languages are part of SBS’s audio and language offering including radio, SBS On Demand, podcasting and other digital platforms. 

SBS supplies the draft Selection Criteria and invites audiences and communities to provide feedback that will help determine the final Selection Criteria which will be shared before the 2021 Australian Census results are released. All feedback received will be considered before the final SBS Selection Criteria is published prior to the Census 2021 data being released in 2022. 


Where can I view the draft Selection Criteria? 

The draft Selection Criteria will be published on the SBS Language Services Review website – - on Tuesday 5th October. 


Why do we publish the Selection Criteria before the Census data is released? 

SBS wants to ensure the process of reviewing the SBS Language Services is objective, open and transparent. Finalising the Selection Criteria prior to the release of the Census data allows a framework to be in place to select languages, independent of the actual numbers released in the Census information. 




What is the public consultation? 

The public consultation is a set period of time where SBS invites public feedback and input on the draft Selection Criteria. SBS is committed to ensuring the language services review is open, objective and transparent; the public consultation is an opportunity for audiences and communities to have their say and help shape the future of SBS language services.


When will public consultation be held? 

The public consultation period will run from 5th October to 12th November 2021. The draft Selection Criteria will be published on the SBS website so that feedback can be provided via an online submission form.  


How can I participate in the public consultation? 

To participate in the public consultation visit: 

You will find the draft Selection Criteria and a feedback form on the webpage. Please provide your feedback via the form and submit it online by Friday 12 November.  


Can feedback be submitted in languages other than English? 

English is the preferred language for feedback, however we will accept feedback in other languages, it will be independently translated.  


Does all feedback have to be submitted online? 

Online feedback is the preferred, most common and we believe the most effective method for SBS to conduct a public consultation. However, we will accept written feedback via postal mail to the following address: 

ATT: ALC Language Service Review 

SBS Locked Bag 028 

Crows Nest 

NSW, 1585 


What if I want to amend, remove or have a question on the feedback I have submitted? 

Please email the and we will respond.  

If you submitted your feedback online, please include the Unique Reference Number that is assigned to you once your feedback has been submitted. 


What if I don’t understand the Draft Selection Criteria provided in English? 

Please email the and we will respond.  


Will late responses or requests for extensions be considered? 

The consultation period has been extended from 4 to 6 weeks in 2021 to allow more time and opportunity for people to provide feedback.    

Any requests for extensions to this timeline will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 


Can we see the feedback from the public consultation? 

For privacy reasons we are unable to share individual or group feedback. However, all feedback will be considered in developing the final Language Selection Criteria. 


Does Public Consultation really impact the Selection Criteria?  

Yes, it does. In 2016 several changes were made the Selection Criteria before it was finalised based on feedback received during the consultation period.  




When will the Census data be released? 

The Census data will be released in stages from June 2022.  

It will be available on the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s website:  




How will SBS develop the new language offering? 

SBS will use the contribution of our audience and community representatives to finalise the Selection Criteria. The language list will then be determined by applying the 2021 Census data to the finalised Selection Criteria.  


Once the language services are decided, is it final? 

As an independent national broadcaster, SBS has sole responsibility for determining its strategy, content and the scheduling of programs. SBS will consult our audiences and communities during the public consultation stage of the SBS Language Services Review. The final Selection Criteria will reflect the feedback received.  


Do you already have a list of language SBS will service? 

No, the final language Selection Criteria, used in conjunction with the Census 2021 data, will inform the list of languages SBS will service going forwards. The SBS radio schedule and other language offerings will be decided after that.  


How many languages will SBS Radio service after the review? 

It is too early to say how many languages will be serviced, however SBS is committed to remaining the world’s most linguistically diverse broadcaster, producing content in many languages. 


When will the updated services be implemented? 

The revised language services will be implemented in November 2022.  


When will the outcome for individual language programs be made public? 

SBS is planning to announce the revised services in October 2022; this will include the outcome for individual language programs.  


How does SBS funding impact the result? 

Due to budget, it is unfortunately not possible for SBS to provide a service for every language community in Australia. In line with the available funding, the Selection Criteria will help inform the languages with SBS determining when and how the language services will be delivered.  


What do I do if I have more questions about the Language Services Review? 

If you have any questions, please email