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7 Feb, 2014

Australian funds new projects to protect Indigenous languages


Canberra, 6 February 2014 – Minister for the Arts, Senator George Brandis QC, and Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion today announced the recipients of $2.6 million in funding for new language preservation projects.

“The Australian Government is committed to helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples keep their languages alive,” Senator Brandis said. “The Indigenous Languages Support program was established in 1991 and has been a vital tool for maintaining, reviving and sharing Indigenous languages. This valuable investment will support 42 additional activities. It will enable communities to develop culturally appropriate learning resources across a range of new media and through partnerships with schools, cultural organisations and libraries.”

Senator Scullion said this funding will bring the total investment of Australian Government funding for Indigenous languages to more than $13 million in 2013-14.

“Australian Government support for the protection of Indigenous languages is also an investment in the rich cultural heritage of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, protecting and preserving it for future generations.”

Many community groups will use funding to digitise existing language learning resources. Audio and video content will be developed to make languages more accessible to more people in communities across Australia.

For example, in Western Australia, Nyamba Buru Yawuru will establish a web page, a smartphone dictionary and phrase book app, as well as animations and interactive resources to support the teaching of the Yawuru language in school and at home.

In the Northern Territory, the Northern Territory Library will create engaging language resources for a number of Indigenous languages. These will have a wide appeal and a range of uses, based on the simple flash card concept with added audio and video content.

This funding responds to recommendations made by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs’ 2012 report into language learning in Indigenous communities.