Recognising and protecting NSW Aboriginal languages
NSW Cabinet recently gave approval to consult on draft legislation to recognise and protect NSW Aboriginal languages.
NSW will be the first State in Australia with legislation to recognise the importance of Aboriginal languages. It will continue this State’s leadership
amongst States and Territories on supporting the revival and protection of Aboriginal languages.
Aboriginal Affairs will hold a community workshop in December 2016 to further refine the legislative proposal, initiate development of the first
strategic plan for Aboriginal languages, and begin outlining the form and function of a NSW Aboriginal Language Centre. A more developed proposal
is due to go back to Cabinet in the first half of 2017. If Cabinet approves the proposal, there will be further consultations to inform a final
Bill which is expected to go back to Cabinet in late 2017.
The draft legislation will have two parts:
- Statements of recognition about the significance of Aboriginal languages, and the importance of preventing their loss; and
- Measures to protect and revive NSW Aboriginal languages, including a proposed NSW Aboriginal Languages Centre, a strategic plan, and accountability
The draft legislation will be informed by international developments such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
legislative examples from similar jurisdictions (Canada and New Zealand); national conversations on constitutional recognition of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Australians; and a stakeholder meeting held by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in March 2016.
The form and function of the NSW Aboriginal Language Centre will be based on community views about what it should do as well as critical assessments
of previous NSW Aboriginal language programs. Possible functions for the Centre could be developing strategies to prevent language loss, building
community capacity to revive languages, and working in partnership with Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests, regional
language centres, schools, universities and government on language revival efforts.
The Aboriginal Affair website will be kept updated with information on the Aboriginal language stakeholder workshop and other opportunities to
participate in the development of the proposed legislation.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Aboriginal Affairs on 1800 019 998.
PowerPoint information on the Draft Bill