The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) to raise awareness of the crucial role languages play in people’s daily lives.

In Australia, of the estimated original 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, only around 120 are still spoken. Of these approximately 90 per cent are endangered.

IY2019 is an opportunity to continue raising awareness and taking further actions to improve preservation and promotion of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Action Plan

The UNESCO Action Plan lays the foundation for the IY2019. It sets out the objectives, principles and action to be taken during the year and afterwards.

Young Galpu Man plays sunset song at Wallaby Beach
Sharing Indigenous stories from Indigenous voices

Find out more about the many activities and programs happening around Australia to protect, preserve and promote Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

National Indigenous Languages Report

The latest National Indigenous Languages Report (NILR) will be released in 2019. It will build our understanding of the benefits and state of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages across Australia.

What's new

Indigenous arts and languages. Indigenous arts and languages
The story of Yolngu warrior, Djalu Gurruwiwi and world-famous musician Gotye.  
Indigenous arts and languages. Indigenous arts and languages
Applications are open for the 2019-20 Indigenous Languages and Arts (ILA) program grant opportunity.
Indigenous arts and languages. Indigenous arts and languages
The Government will fund 96 projects through the 2018-19 Indigenous Languages and Arts program.

Register your events and activities on the UNESCO IY2019 world map. An interactive pin will appear with details about your activity. This is a great way to share your event globally and find out about other activities taking place throughout the year.