The Government has committed an additional $10 million to support the revival and maintenance of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

The Australian Government is committed to helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to revive, maintain and promote their cultures through arts and languages.

The Government recognises that, as part of this, the erosion of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages needs to be addressed. Of the original estimated 250 languages only around 120 are still spoken and, of these, most are considered endangered. In support of this, Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Indigenous Affairs the Hon Nigel Scullion announced an election commitment to provide $10 million of funding over four years from 2016 to 2020.

Focus and implementation

This additional funding will support:

  • working in partnership with Indigenous communities to identify and facilitate digital opportunities to address language needs
  • innovative digital solutions to capture and teach language
  • Indigenous language workers and linguists, and
  • collaborative approaches to building the digital capabilities of communities.

The Australian Government will work with stakeholders to determine the most effective ways to deliver these priorities through support of community-led initiatives. As part of this work, there will be a National Indigenous Languages Convention on 23 February 2018. The Convention will bring stakeholders together to develop a shared understanding and identify ways to improve the preservation of Indigenous languages.

Identifying projects that use digital technologies effectively has the potential to enable languages to be captured and preserved quickly and efficiently. These technologies will complement and support other methods being used to increase the revival and maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages within Indigenous communities. Technology also offers great opportunities to share and celebrate success and to increase awareness of the importance of indigenous languages to all Australians.

The funding of projects will be administered through the existing Indigenous Languages and Arts (ILA) program in accordance with the program’s funding guidelines.

As part of this commitment the ILA program has established a Register of ideas to find out more about how digital solutions are being used to facilitate the teaching, learning and maintenance of languages.

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.

More information about the register, program, eligibility and opening date of the next funding round is available from Indigenous Languages and Arts.

National Indigenous Languages Convention

The National Indigenous Languages Convention was held on Friday 23 February 2018, bringing together community members, language workers, industry partners, educators and government to explore how digital technologies can be used to preserve and pass on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Through innovative displays, inspiring speakers and passionate delegates, the Convention showcased firsthand a range of community-led initiatives and encouraged robust discussion about future possibilities.

Watch the Convention highlights and hear from some of our delegates about the importance of language across communities and from the presenters on the day about how technology can support language revival.

For further information contact nilc [at] arts.gov.au (subject: National%20Indigenous%20Languages%20Convention) .

Existing support

The $10 million commitment is in addition to the $20 million in annual support provided through the ongoing Indigenous Languages and Arts program for projects and organisations that support participation in and maintenance of Indigenous culture through languages and arts.

The new commitment complements and reinforces the work being carried out under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, the Closing the Gap agenda and the Indigenous Languages and Arts program. Together the suite of programs will address different aspects to the Government’s broad support for the maintenance of Indigenous language and culture, and wellbeing. The new commitment complements and reinforces the work being carried out under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, the Closing the Gap agenda and the Indigenous Languages and Arts program. Together the suite of programs will address different aspects to the Government’s broad support for the maintenance of Indigenous language and culture, and wellbeing.

Supporting documents

National Indigenous Languages Convention: Protecting, preserving and celebrating Indigenous languages

Protecting, preserving and celebrating Indigenous Languages