First Nations language partnerships to help Close the Gap
As part of its commitment to Closing the Gap, the Albanese Labor Government is delivering more than $4 million towards a pilot program which will establish partnerships between Indigenous language centres and local service delivery partners.
Funded through the Indigenous Languages and Arts Program, the 11 place-based partnerships will enable these First Nations-led organisations, in the health and early childhood education sector, to increase the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said the pilot will consider languages as a cultural determinant of engagement with services such as mental health and wellbeing facilities, employment opportunities and early childhood education.
“At one level there’s no such thing as translation. The English language simply doesn’t have a matching word or concept for every other language. And certainly not for First Nations languages,” Minister Burke said.
“By working to preserve and pass on these languages we’re ensuring that words, concepts and expressions that tell stories going back to the first sunrise on this continent will always live here.”
The pilot will contribute to the Government’s progress towards a number of Closing the Gap targets, in particular, those relating to languages and the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, said the Government is committed to safeguarding and strengthening First Nations languages.
“Indigenous languages are so important to the identity and connection with culture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Promoting the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in health and early childhood settings demonstrates our collective support and drive to achieve positive health and wellbeing outcomes in First Nations communities,” Minister Burney said.
“The pilot program underpins our commitment to Closing the Gap, by preserving cultures and increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to learn and speak their languages on a daily basis.”
These partnerships coincide with the global launch of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032, which was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris this month.
The Government is working in partnership with the International Decade’s Directions Group and First Nations stakeholders to develop and co-author the Australian Action Plan for the International Decade.
This will be presented at the Australian launch of the International Decade at the PULiiMA Indigenous Language and Technology Conference in August, 2023.
For more information on the Indigenous Languages and Arts program, visit: https://www.arts.gov.au/funding-and-support/indigenous-languages-and-arts-program
For more information on the International Decade, visit: www.arts.gov.au/what-we-do/indigenous-arts-and-languages/international-decade-indigenous-languages-2022-2032
For more information on the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, visit: https://www.closingthegap.gov.au/