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SBS Language Services Review

Welcome to the SBS Language Services Review website.



What is the Language Services Review? 


The Language Services Review is a process undertaken every five years in line with the national Census, as part of SBS’s ongoing commitment to continue evolving to meet the needs of Australia’s rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society.


The Review considers factors such as the Australian Census data, audience listening habits, the migration to digital platforms, demographics and financial parameters, in order to ensure SBS’s language services are aligned to reflect today’s Australia. 



Our process


The Language Services Review is a detailed process that occurs over a seventeen-month period, beginning with the Australian Census on Tuesday 10 August 2021.

SBS is hosting a public consultation from 5th October to 12th November inviting audiences, communities and stakeholders to provide feedback on the draft Language Selection Criteria.


This feedback informs the development of the Final Language Selection Criteria, which will be published ahead of the Census results being released in June 2022


The census data provides a rich snapshot of the nation and will be used with the Language Selection Criteria to inform SBS’s Language Services Review.

The results of the Language Services Review will be announced in October 2022 and any changes will be implemented by November 2022.



Public Consultation – Draft Language 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 provides 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.


SBS is committed to ensuring the process of reviewing the SBS Language Services is objective, open and transparent. Finalising the Language Selection Criteria prior to the release of the 2021 Census data allows an independent framework to be in place to select languages, that is not skewed by the results.,




  • Large Languages Criteria: population of approximately 25,000* or greater.
  • High Needs Languages Criteria: (a minimum of 15 languages subject to SBS funding)
•Threshold requirement – population must be greater than 1,000*
•English language proficiency (weight = 45%)
•Recentness of arrival (weight = 30%)
•Ageing (weight = 15%)
•Household resources (weight = 10%)
  • SBS may also include a sizeable ethnic community if its needs are significant but not adequately captured in the Large Language or High Needs Selection Criteria. Factors which SBS may take into account include:
•Discrimination/Vilification: where a group  is subject to frequent discrimination or vilification in Australia based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.
•Immediate need: a significant increase in the population of a language group through Australia’s Humanitarian Program.
•Access to quality in-language media sources.
  • SBS will take into account the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian community.
  • SBS will take into account language services provided by all parts of the organisation.

* Population size based on 2021 Census data – Main language other than English spoken at home.



The final Selection Criteria and Census 2021 data will determine which languages are serviced by SBS. Subject to funding, SBS will determine when and how the language services will  be delivered – e.g. via AM/FM, digital radio, digital television, online and/or podcast.




Important Information

Background and what happens next

Frequently Asked Questions

Easy English Guide

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Have Your Say


Your feedback on the draft Language Selection Criteria is an important contribution to the future of SBS Radio services and the network’s broader audio and language offering.


If you would like to make a submission or leave a comment, please enter you details and provide feedback by Friday 12 November 2021 through the online form below.


If you have any questions, please visit the frequently asked questions  or our Easy English Guide.