Will this second language create more chaos on our roads? 385



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The federal government want to add a second language to our road signs, and will propose translating Australian road signs into Mandarin at a meeting of state and territory tourism heads next year.

The left-of-centre idea makes sense in a tourism sense, however it has a few people scratching their heads.

Federal Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck is proposing translating road signs into Mandarin because there are more Chinese tourists on our roads than ever, and they deserve to know the road rules and where they are going.
“With close to a million visitors from China coming to Australia, injecting $7.7 billion into the economy annually and growing, we must do whatever we can to ensure they enjoy their experience and want to return,” Senator Colbeck told AAP, reports SBS.

“About 40 per cent of Chinese tourists are choosing to self-drive so signage, roads, wi-fi and basic amenities are important to encourage them to explore our vast country safely”.

According to Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond, adding dual language signage is already happening at a number of private sector tourist attractions.

“It’s not just about bus tours anymore, they want to get in the car and they want to drive so they need to understand the Australian road rules, and we need to help them get around,” she said.

Tourism Research Australia data shows Australia experienced a 22 per cent surge in Chinese tourists in the last year. While it’s all understandable, won’t adding another language be a large cost, and make it more confusing for other road users?

Tourism Australia’s managing director John O’Sullivan said it was all about the money tourists would bring in. “These people tend to stay longer, they spend more,” he said.

Tell us, would you mind if our road signs had Mandarin on them? Or is there another way to help Chinese tourists who want to use our roads?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Well if people cant read English how did they get a license. What language what dialect? It’s another ridiculous waste of money

    7 REPLY
    • Foreigners can get their driver licence in their own language and have been able to do so for at least 15 years….sheer stupidity!!!

    • Yes Kerry i agree & we know who will end up paying for it dont we cos isnt the government supposed to be broke!!!

    • Usually they have an international licence, issued in their country of origin, which allows them to drive in most countries for a limited amount of time. They don’t even have to speak the language!! We can do the same in Australia.

    • I thought Australia was having financial problems, yet we seem to have people who just come up with stupid ideas to waste more money on!!

    • Pick a language, with thousand’s of backpackers travelling our roads, you would have to have a sign in every language. Someone would probably sue if their language wasn’t on the signs and they had an accident

  2. No we don’t need it, and it should be a rule that if you want to move to or live in Australia then you must learn to read and write ENGLISH

    7 REPLY
    • Agree with you totally – Australia is pandering too much to foreigners who choose to come here, we spesk English here – no way should we do this!!

    • Moving to or living in Australia is a bit different from being a tourist. Don’t you have to past a test to drive here? You do in UK I think.

    • It depends which country you are from. For some visitors it is neccessary to pass both a written & practical test.

    • If you become a permanent resident, after 3 months you need to take a test. But good idea as long as the second language is Aboriginal, and in local dialect.

    • Well that’s true if you live here.Tourists who dont speak English are a menace ie ” don’t stand on the coral and so on” .Have seen these instructions ignored more often than not.

  3. I’m with Kerry Downes, if you can’t read English you shouldn’t be driving. This is downright dangerous. We’ve already had a death that I can recall just outside of Strathalbyn from a foreign visitor driving on our roads and on the wrong side of the road killing one of our locals and there are probably many more that I don’t know of

    2 REPLY
  4. I don’t want inhospitable too tourists but this is an English speaking country, I don’t think that is a good idea, what next soon they will be adding Japanese and Italian and whatever languages others speak? the signs will have to be 20 meters in length to get them all in

    25 REPLY
    • It is odd but the Aboriginals here seem to manage ok and I can’t see why Chinese people should get preference over them Joy.

    • They do it in overseas countries. Especially in Europe and Asia. They have their own language and English.

    • Most tourists nowadays speak English it is widely taught in European schools, I don’t know about Asian schools but if you go to a country to travel you have to be aware there may be a language barrier.

    • I work in our local tourist information center and the number of German tourists in Australia at the moment is amazing. Over half our walk ins each day are German. We jokingly ask them if there is anyone left in Germany. I can’t remember the last time we had a Chinese tourist come in. I don’t understand why we are favouring Chinese over other nationalities.

    • Libbi then we will all get confused as I guess the new languages will take over our little English signs – just too funny to even imagine it😂

    • I’m assuming the extra language will be a Chinese one. Just another way to sell aust off to China so no I don’t want a second language sign

    • Why even consider it? How many more languages will we need to add? tourists usually have translation books and immigrants should be learning English before they arrive. If they want to add a language, shouldn’t it be Aboriginal as they were here before us.

    • I agree it should be English, English, English. Tourists do have translation books. If you start adding other languages, how many would have to be added to avoid racism??? *G*

    • Glenys Bradley If you were to travel overseas you might realise that many countries have signs in English as well as their own language. Most of us do not go learn the languages of other countries, especially if we are visiting a few around Europe, or even other places. I think we English only speaking Australians are very ignorant and arrogant as well when it comes to our language.

    • I think more people, who travel, speak English than mandarin. Note “who travel”. Also while mandarin maybe the official language many Chinese only read their own dialect.
      How about the radio info stations doing languages and the info signs in each area show which station to tune into for their own language.

    • Garry Graham I agree with you Garry, but that is no excuse for us to have an arrogant attitude simply because English is our native tongue. I have enormous admiration for some of the people I have met in other parts of the world who have learned to speak not one but several languages, yet look at most of us in Australia. I think we need a bit of an attitude change here.

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