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FATSIL
FATSIL
Further action will be discussed at the FATSIL Governing Committee Meeting in Canberra (April 16-19), when comment from Northern Territory delegates and language centre representatives will be used to prepare a response to the Minister's planned implementation of these changes.

The Governing Committee of FATSIL has addressed a number of proposals which aim to strengthen the position of the organisation as peak body for indigenous languages in Australia.

Meetings held at Alice Springs and Darwin last year, confirmed widespread national support for FATSIL, and highlighted the need for a united national effort to gain recognition for languages, as the cornerstone of indigenous cultural heritage.

At the National Indigenous Language Conference at Alice Springs in September, the future directions and role of the national body were examined by participants from all areas of language work across Australia.

Workshops examined -

  • The methods used for distribution of ATSILIP funds;
  • Identifying which languages are currently in regular use;
  • Project funding, from ATSIC and alternative sources;
  • The importance of publication and broadcasting.
  • Establishing guidelines for the distribution of funds allocated in response to the 'Stolen Generation' Report.

The conference, which was coordinated by ATSIC, also provided the opportunity to examine the working relationship between FATSIL and the funding body.

The FATSIL Annual General Meeting in Darwin in November again drew strong representation from around the country. FATSIL's Strategic Plan was discussed, and in particular the organisation's responsibility for policy advice and communication issues.

The Darwin conference offered delegates support for their efforts to raise the profile of indigenous languages at a broader community level.

In response to last year's Peer Review of FATSIL, which was commissioned by ATSIC, FATSIL committee members have begun addressing a number of recommendations in line with the working objectives of the language body.

These are:

Recommendation 1.

That a national conference be held to allow key stakeholders and language workers to develop a constitution in line with the findings of the review.

Response.

National conference at Alice Springs September 1998 attended by representatives of all ATSILIP participants. and including delegates of the Governing Committee of FATSIL. The conference produced a resolution supporting the continuation of FATSIL as the peak National body for indigenous languages.

Recommendation 17

That ATSILIP funding be distributed on a needs basis to ensure equitable distribution, taking into consideration geographic size, numbers of languages in existence, size of population.

Response.

FATSIL involved in ongoing discussion with ATSIC regarding the advisory role of the language body in relation to funding distribution.
Recommendation 42 & 43. That production and distribution of the newsletter be on a monthlyResponse, Cost factors for newsletter currently limit its production. Recommendations to increase publication to 10,000 copies and 12 issues per year would require increased production staff, accommodation and resources. Given the known limitation of funding available for the production of newsletters, it would be irresponsible for FATSIL to support such a drastic increase to production and costs. FATSIL recommends that no. of publications increase by increment and demonstrated demand.

Recommendation 31.

That individual State - based conferences be held every two years to allow workplace issues and staff development needs to be addressed.

Response.

FATSIL to support initiatives to hold State Conferences every two to three years (dependant on the availability of funds.) as a means to achieve significant outcomes for the maintenance, retrieval and revival of indigenous languages.

To include:

A -Election of delegates to FATSIL.
B -Report on State language projects.
Participants should include FATSIL members, language workers, representatives from language centres, RLMCs, Language Portfolio Commissioner, ATSIC representative, representatives from key stakeholders in language issues, FATSIL delegates or State/Territory representatives. Invitations to be extended to FATSIL Chairperson and Governing Committee.

Recommendation 9 & 10.

That FATSIL establish and maintain statistical information relevant to Aboriginal languages throughout Australia.

That FATSIL develop, maintain and make available to members, data consisting of resources available throughout Australia of language materials and resources.

Response.

FATSIL has prepared a submission to ATSIC to retrieve statistical information from "Needs Analysis Survey" for the development of an appropriate database for provision of advice to Government and community.

Recommendation 23.

That Commissioners should be invited to, and should attend FATSIL meetings and attend State and national conferences to actively participate in language issues and needs throughout Australia where possible.

Response.

FATSIL recommends that ATSIC commissioners holding language portfolio attend FATSIL meetings, language conferences and include visits to language centres/RLMCs in annual travel itinerary.

Recommendation 34.

That FATSIL assist in the establishment, implementation and maintenance of a three yearly national conference, to enable workers and key stake holders to participate and address workplace issues including staff development.

Response.

FATSIL recommends that 3-yearly national conference/language Expo be held to showcase ATSILIP projects and community language initiatives, with the aim of developing national strategies to ensure ongoing funding for language maintenance, retrieval and revival programs.

FATSIL is involved in preparations to host an Aboriginal ar d Torres Strait Islander Language Expo in Perth, late 1999, in conjunction with the Indigenous Programs Unit of the University of West Australia.