SBS to serve more multilingual Australians than ever

2nd March 2023
The conclusion of the Language Services Review will see SBS invest more in Indo-Pacific and First Nations languages as it continues to produce content in 63 languages across its output. 
A reporter holding an SBS-branded microphone interviews someone.
Mo Lin, SBS Mandarin Producer, interviews a member of the community in Launceston, TAS Source: SBS

This press release was originally published on SBS and is republished with permission.

SBS has announced its five-yearly update to its audio content offering to reflect contemporary Australia and serve the record number of Australians speaking a language other than English at home. SBS is retaining its distinctive, trusted output in more than 60 languages, while increasing investment in First Nations voices, Auslan content, and growing and high needs migrant communities, particularly from South Asia.

SBS has announced key changes to its audio language services to reflect Australia’s rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society, investing more in Indo-Pacific and First Nations languages and continuing to tell stories of contemporary Australia, building belonging and social cohesion.

The announcement follows an extensive Language Services Review which examined the results of the 2021 Census. The number of Australians using a language other than English at home grew 16% to 5.6 million, with SBS’s updated services continuing to serve 92% of these users and reach more audiences than ever before.

Read more: SBS visualises a changing Australia

SBS will service 63 languages in total across radio, podcasting, online and social media. This includes welcoming four new languages to the SBS family – Bislama1, Malay2, Oromo3 and Tetum4 – to support growing and high needs migrant communities, as well as continuing services in 59 languages for existing audiences.

Responding to the growing number of people in Australia speaking a South Asian language, SBS will recommit to servicing Telugu, grow its Punjabi and Nepali teams, and launch an English-language podcast targeted at younger audiences across this broad community to assist daily life and strengthen belonging within Australia.

In addition to its continuing NITV Radio service, SBS will increase the prominence of First Nations voices by commissioning content in Indigenous languages to aid language preservation. SBS will also invest in Auslan accessible content and in the SBS Settlement Guide series for emerging migrant communities. This builds on the successful SBS Multilingual Coronavirus Portal which has helped over 11 million Australian unique visitors access our trusted COVID-19 content since the start of the pandemic.

Afrikaans-language audio will be commissioned and distributed through SBS Dutch, and SBS Dari will be renamed SBS Dari (includes Hazaragi) to increase visibility of existing services.

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David Hua SBS Director of Audio and Language Content said the review ensures SBS’s language services deliver on the public broadcaster’s Charter and are relevant to contemporary Australia.

“As SBS nears its 50th anniversary in 2025, we are reaching new audiences on a variety of platforms and continue to be a trusted voice for communities helping to build connection and belonging for all Australians. We serve communities both large and small and some of our most engaged audiences are from emerging communities. We’re proud of the great responsibility and opportunity that comes with being able to respond to our changing multicultural society, including the growth of South Asian migration.

“Today’s updates underpin SBS’s commitment to continuing to meet the evolving needs of communities and providing essential information for our newest Australians, as well as amplifying the voices of the world’s oldest living continuous culture and supporting the preservation and access to First Nations languages.”

SBS has today also brought together its full multi-platform audio offering under the new brand name SBS Audio to better reflect audience consumption. Content in new and continuing languages, including podcasts, will be available on SBS Audio’s digital platforms including the website and app. The radio schedule can be found at

The Language Services Review process is held every five years in line with the national Census and includes extensive public consultation, community engagement and data analysis. SBS also considered the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian community, as well as the different language services provided across the entire SBS network.

Six languages did not meet the selection criteria in the Language Services Review – Albanian, Bulgarian, Finnish, Romanian, Slovak and Slovenian. SBS has confirmed it intends to decommission these services*, with existing content accessible online for an extended period.

SBS’s in-language services also include SBS On Demand being accessible in six languages (Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Hindi, Korean and Vietnamese, as well as its SBS WorldWatch channel and weeknightly SBS عربي News in Arabic and SBS 中文 News in Mandarin.

1 Used in Vanuatu
2 Used in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia
3 Used in Ethiopia and large parts of East Africa
4 Used in Timor-Leste and West Timor