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Queensland leads the way in preserving ancient language

A new Palaszczuk Government language policy will help preserve, promote and revitalise the diverse languages of the world’s oldest living cultures. On Indigenous Literacy Day, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Craig Crawford, said the Many Voices: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Policy is another significant step towards a re-framed relationship with First Nations people.

A new Palaszczuk Government language policy will help preserve, promote and revitalise the diverse languages of the world’s oldest living cultures. On Indigenous Literacy Day, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Craig Crawford, said the Many Voices: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Policy is another significant step towards a re-framed relationship with First Nations people.

“This policy, the first of its kind in Queensland, has been developed in partnership with representatives of various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language groups,” Mr Crawford said.

“It will help strengthen work to preserve First Nations languages, with less than one in ten Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders reportedly speaking an Australian Indigenous language at home.

“The Palaszczuk Government acknowledges the ongoing impact of historic practices that separated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and prohibited people for speaking their own language. We’re committed to working with traditional language speakers, communities and organisations through initiatives including Indigenous Language Grants to help stem language loss.


“Mossman State School in the Far North is among last year’s grant recipients, using the funds to install a sign in Kuku Yalanji language — a visible display of the school’s pride in language and culture.”

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Craig Crawford

The new policy follows last month’s historic Palaszczuk Government commitment towards a new Treaty Advancement Committee to progress the Path to Treaty process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The commitment followed three months of state-wide consultation by an Eminent Panel of Elders. Minister for Education Grace Grace said the policy would strengthen existing partnerships between schools and communities, working together to teach local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

“More than 80 Queensland state schools are working with local communities to teach 35 different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, reaching thousands of students,” Ms Grace said.

“Every action taken to preserve First Nations languages helps connect children, families, communities and future generations to culture and identity in Queensland.

“Supporting communities to preserve and maintain their languages, to speak and engage through their languages of choice, is essential for equal access to opportunities, inclusion and supporting Queensland’s diversity.”

Queensland Minister for Education, Grace Grace

Our very own Mossman State School has been a role model for a successful Indigenous language program aligned with the Australian curriculum, the school’s pedagogical framework, and improvement and strategic agenda. This gives the program validity and sustainability while giving local Indigenous families a voice. The program is clearly changing students’ lives and rebuilding cultural identity. Kuku Yalanji students know their heritage, culture and individuality are deeply valued. Non-Indigenous students take their learning home to share with family, while teaching staff have warmly embraced learning the language. The language program is co-designed, and has proven to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous student attendance, engagement and achievement.

Queenslanders can now apply for grants of up to $25,000 towards initiatives to promote, preserve and revitalise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Applications close 11.59 pm (AEST) Tuesday 6 October 2020.

To apply or find out more visit www.datsip.qld.gov.au/ilg.

The Many Voices: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Policy is available at www.datsip.qld.gov.au/manyvoices and is action 2.5 under the Queensland Government’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2018-2021.

IMAGE : Department of Education


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