$4 million language partnership for health and early childhood
The Federal Government has allocated more than $4 million to a pilot program to support 11 place based partnerships which will enable First Nations led health and early childhood education programs to increase the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
Funded through the Indigenous Languages and Arts Program,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, Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, explained.
“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.
The partnerships coincide with the global launch of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032, which was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris late last year.
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.
“Indigenous languages are so important to the identity and connection with culture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney said.
“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,” she added.
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