From Lester Coyne FATSIL Chairperson PDF Print E-mail
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Lester Coyne
Hello to all "Voice of the Land" newsletter subscribers, FATSIL members and language centres across Australia.

It is particularly pleasing to hear of the growing public interest in each newsletter publication and I encourage your support and contributions to the editor.

I am also pleased to report that our FATSIL delegates continue to provide well informed input on many matters influencing the future of Aboriginal languages in Australia.

Committee members are fully aware of the need for Aboriginal languages to have a greater profile and access to national/international platforms in order to survive or handle change, and are mindful of the need to "publish or perish".

To assist in the promotion of Aboriginal languages and complement the effects of the newsletter, FATSIL has been offered a board position on Language Australia, representing non Aboriginal language in Australia.

Acceptance of a board position will give voice and focus to the needs of Aboriginal languages at a very important level, while meeting one of the documented aims of FATSIL - To promote national awareness and recognition of language issues.

Board membership of Language Australia will also enable Language Centres and FATSIL to maintain a current understanding of language trends and indicators as they emerge, while increasing public support and recognition.

It will allow the organisation to maximise opportunities to influence proposed policy change and affect and assist planning.

The deputy chairperson of FATSIL, Denise Karpany of South Australia, is now a representative on the Indigenous Reference Group for Intellectual Protection. This group, established by ATSIC in 1996 seeks to address and provide direction on issues arising from the rights Aboriginal people have in relation to matters of intellectual property ownership. The skills and ability Denise has to offer in relation to this and many other issues, can only benefit FATSIL and its members.

Language centres are reminded of the importance of committee views reflected through motions, minutes and correspondence on matters affecting language issues in your centre.

Both FATSIL and ATSIC seek committee instruction, rather than the views of centre employees. Also it's useful to remember that communication with delegates is only as good as you jointly care to make it. Informed delegates perform accordingly.

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of FATSIL members to thank previous Language Commissioners Tomasina Mam and Ian Delaney for their attendance at all FATSIL meetings, and to welcome Preston Thomas from Western Australia who has recently been appointed to the position.

Commissioners are also thanked for their respect and trust in FATSIL as an organisation, fully capable of handling its own affairs. It is hoped that having the Language Commissioners attend FATSIL meetings will reassure ATSIC that the processes established by FATSIL demonstrate a top down, open, accountable communication process.

Lester Coyne.
Chairperson FATSIL
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