The Australian Government is investing over $4 million towards a pilot program that will establish 11 place-based partnerships between Indigenous language centres and local service delivery partners in health and early childhood education.
As part of the Closing the Gap commitment, these partnerships will enable First Nations-led organisations to increase the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in their service delivery.
This pilot study will consider languages as a cultural determinant of engagement with services such as mental health and wellbeing facilities, employment opportunities and childcare.
By studying how these organisations play a role in delivering support services for First Nations communities, the pilot aims to determine a way to remove barriers, increase engagement in First Nations communities, and achieve positive outcomes.
The Pertame community is from the country south of Alice Springs, along the Finke River, and is one of the First Nations communities that will benefit from these partnerships, welcomed the funding outcome:
Kathleen Swan-Bradshaw, Pertame Elder: 'Engaging the children while they are babies and immersing them in the language will be so wonderful in our early-childhood partnership that is now supported by ILA. We are happy that our young mothers will be able to learn their language alongside their babies, revisiting our traditional intergeneration language transmission.'
Doreen Abbott, Pertame Elder: 'We are so happy that the Government is hearing our voice and supporting us to revive our First Nations languages. It has livened our spirits up to know that there are people out there that understands our urgent plight to pass our Indigenous languages onto the young generations while us Elders are still here. We really appreciate the support, allowing us to keep our language alive by making new language speakers within our Ngetya Untya (Language Nest) early childhood partnership pilot. We don't need to struggle anymore. Nwerna kangkema (We are happy).'
Leeanne Swan, Pertame Language Nest Coordinator: 'This is a big deal for us to going forward with the revival of our language. Our goal is to start with the young children and their parents to equip them to take language home and share it with other members of their family. We know we will see immediate positive change in how our language is being used, and how people are looking at our language again because of this wonderful support from ILA.'