The Indigenous Languages and Arts program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to revive and maintain languages, and to develop and present art.

Language and art form a large part of culture and are essential to the wellbeing and identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and are integral to maintaining the vitality and strength of Indigenous communities.

The Indigenous Languages and Arts (ILA) program provides over $20 million annually to community-based organisations for projects that support participation in and maintenance of Indigenous culture through languages and arts.

The Australian Government has committed an additional $10 million of funding over four years, 2016–2020, to protect, preserve and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. The additional investment will complement the outcomes achieved through the ILA program by:

  • engaging and consulting nationally.
  • supporting digital solutions and partnerships for the ongoing capture and teaching of language.
  • supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ capacity to teach, preserve and revive Indigenous languages. 

The funding of these projects will be administered through the ILA program in accordance with the program’s funding guidelines.

In the first two years of this commitment (2016-2017 and 2017-2018) there was a focus on attracting and supporting language projects with a specific focus on digital initiatives that use technology in an innovative and culturally sensitive manner. In the remaining two years of funding the government is shifting the focus to encourage projects that support the career development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to teach, preserve and revive Indigenous languages.


The ILA program provides funding to organisations that support participation in, and maintenance of, Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through languages and arts.

Funding under the Program is distributed annually through two grant opportunities:

  • a competitive grant round (called “the Open Round”) open to all eligible organisations wishing to submit applications for languages and arts projects
  • a restricted competitive grant opportunity (called “the Direct Offer Round”) for eligible organisations who have been invited by the ILA Team to apply.

Register of ideas

A register of ideas has been set up to find out more about how digital solutions are currently being used to facilitate the teaching, learning and maintenance of languages. We want you to share your experiences and ideas for future projects by taking part in the register.

We want to find out more about:

  • an existing digital product or solution that could benefit from further development to suit community needs
  • ideas for a new digital product or solution
  • partnerships to develop new products and solutions
  • how to improve digital literacy within communities.

* Submitting an idea is not an application for or guarantee of funding.

Closing date

There is no closing date, ideas can be submitted at any time.

Please note:

  • Submitting an idea is not an application for, or guarantee of, grant funding. You may be offered the opportunity to speak with an ILA program officer who will assist you assess whether your idea fits within the scope of the new measure to protect, preserve and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, and also the parameters of the ILA program guidelines. 
  • You may submit an online application in order to be considered for program funding. Details of the 2018-19 ILA funding round are now available on the Department’s website and ILA program guidelines can be accessed by visiting the Australian Government’s GrantConnect website.
  • Only ideas with a digital technology focus can be submitted on the register.
  • We are seeking ideas for projects at all stages of readiness. Please provide a concise description of your product or solution including supporting documentation if it is available, which could include:
    • a letter of community support
    • product specifications
    • evaluation of existing product or solution that you are wishing to expand
    • initial responses to checklist questions.
  • You will be able to provide additional verbal information if you are contacted by an ILA program officer.