Did you know you can access COVID-19 health and safety messages in language?

15 May 2020

Federal and state governments, peak organisations and language centres are providing up-to-date messages for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in a range of different ways.

The Department of Health has produced a collection of resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities about COVID-19.

They are also working with 33 Creative, a First Nations media agency, to produce a regular newsletter called Keep our mob safe, stop the spread.

The Northern Territory Government is translating health messages into as many Indigenous languages as possible and has created a YouTube video playlist.

Language experts, such as Ruth Singer, from the Research Unit for Indigenous Language in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne, are also compiling useful material in language.

Many language centres are focused on keeping their communities informed, through website content like the Groote Island Language Centre’s Anindilyakwa Safe page, which has regular updates.

The Why Warriors organisation, committed to locally-driven Aboriginal community projects across Northeast Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, has a range of online resources, including videos.

ARDS Aboriginal Corporation’s Yolŋgu Radio is also broadcasting COVID-19 messages in language to communities across the Northern Territory – to 6 major North East Arnhem Land communities, 15 remote homelands and the Darwin and Palmerston region.

First Languages Australia is providing guidance and support for language centres and Manager Faith Baisden says it is crucial to make sure that health messages are available to people in their first language.

‘Seeing the threat posed to people in remote communities by the COVID-19 outbreak is a stark lesson to service providers of the fact that they need to communicate clearly with people in a language they speak and understand,’ Faith said.

Many Indigenous Australians who work in the creative sector may also be eligible for the Government’s whole-of-economy support measures.

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