Recognition and Revitalisation: Aboriginal Languages Bill Passes NSW Parliament
In an Australian first, the NSW Parliament has passed legislation that acknowledges the value and importance of language to our country’s First Peoples in the form of the Aboriginal Languages Bill.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell estimates that 35 Indigenous languages will be revived and protected under the bill, a major step forward in preserving the cultural heritage and identity of Aboriginal communities in NSW.
As a result of the historic Indigenous Languages Bill, an Aboriginal Language Trust comprised of Aboriginal community leaders will be established to oversee a strategic plan that strengthens Indigenous languages.
The Legislation was developed following extensive consultation at 32 workshops held across NSW.
“The NSW Government has worked tirelessly alongside Aboriginal communities, Elders and language experts to develop legislation that acknowledges the importance of Aboriginal languages for past, current and future generations,” Nationals MLC and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell said.
“I am proud of how far we have come and I’m committed to working alongside Aboriginal people from right across the State as we continue on this journey to promote and reawaken languages.”
Research released by the state government found that Aboriginal children who learnt a language performed better at school, and language renewal strengthened local communities.
The Bill acts not only as recognition of the importance of Indigenous Languages, but the exposure and embracement of Aboriginal culture. Great care has been taken to ensure the Government works in partnership with local communities so the power of preservation and control of the program is in Aboriginal hands.
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams began championing the revitalisation of Aboriginal languages when she held the portfolio for Aboriginal Affairs in 2016.