Putting words into action to safeguard Indigenous languages
The Albanese Labor Government has reaffirmed its commitment to preserving and promoting First Nations languages with the release today of Australia’s Action Plan for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032.
The Plan was jointly launched by First Nations leaders on the Directions Group for the International Decade and Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, at the PULiiMA Indigenous Language and Technology Conference on Larrakia Country in Darwin.
Titled Voices of Country, the Plan was developed in partnership between the Directions Group and the Australian Government, and will guide Australia’s participation in the International Decade.
It acknowledges the critical and precarious state of First Nations languages across Australia and the coordinated effort needed to safeguard them for the future.
The Plan is guided by the UNESCO Global Action Plan of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages and aligns with the National Cultural Policy, Revive, which recognises and respects the critical place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories at the centre of Australia’s arts and culture – putting First Nations First.
Voices of Country also supports the Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap by listening to First Nations people and communities and being led by them to strengthen languages.
The Government will outline and report on measurable commitments to support the priorities set out in Voices of Country.
Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said support for First Nations culture, stories and languages is crucial.
“At its heart there’s no such thing as true translation. Every language contains words, ideas, concepts and emotions that only live within that language.
“It’s up to us to provide the support to make sure that those words and concepts — that describe stories going back to the first sunrise — will always be preserved and cherished on this land.”
Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, said Indigenous languages are integral to the identity and connection with culture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“This Plan sets out the framework for us to maintain and strengthen First Nations languages for future generations,” Minister Burney said.
“We look forward to working with communities to put the Plan into action.”
The Plan builds on the Government’s existing efforts to support First Nations languages in partnership with communities, including investing more than $27 million each year to support First Nations cultural expression through the Indigenous Languages and Arts program.
The Government is also investing $14.1 million over four years in community-led partnerships to support the learning and teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in local primary schools.
The United Nations General Assembly declared the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages to draw attention to the critical status of many indigenous languages across the world and encourage action for their preservation, revitalisation and promotion.
Read Voices of Country – Australia’s Action Plan for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032 here.
For more information on the International Decade, visit International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022–2032 | Office for the Arts.
For more information on the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, visit: https://www.closingthegap.gov.au/