Protecting, preserving and celebrating Indigenous Languages


The Turnbull Government is resolute in its commitment to close the gap in life expectancy, child mortality, education, and employment. We recognise the critical path to change must be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

In our pursuit of closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, we must continue to celebrate and be proud of the rich diversity of Indigenous experiences and history.

Our vision is for an Australia where respect for our rich diversity of cultures begins with respect for the world’s oldest continuous culture - that of our First Australians.

The Coalition is committing a further $10 million to protect, preserve and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages as part of the living story of our shared history.

Technology is already playing a vital part in language survival and revival. Government will work with Indigenous organisations and groups to identify how best to digitally capture languages while respecting cultural sensitives. This may include technical support and the enhancement of crowdsourcing style websites for storing records.

This further funding will increase recognition of these ancient languages by the wider Australian community and ensure Indigenous language organisations can teach them to future generations, so they may live on.

The funding may go towards publicly recognising local languages through signage for place names and landmarks, to be developed in partnership with local language groups.

Today’s commitment builds on $40 million over 4 years already allocated to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), to ensure the collection of Indigenous languages is preserved for future generations. AIATSIS can continue to share best practice in preserving and protecting items of significant cultural heritage. The Australian Indigenous Languages Collection is listed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register. It is something all Australians should be proud of.

The Coalition also invests $20 million each year in the Indigenous Languages and Arts (ILA) programme, which aims to address the erosion of Australia’s estimated 250 original Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, and over 600 dialects.

The Coalition will spend $4.9 billion over the forward estimates on Indigenous Advancement Strategy which includes front-line services to support practical programmes to close the gap in life expectancy, child mortality, education, and employment.