FATSIL role raised in Parliament PDF Print E-mail

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Dr John Herron.
Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Dr John Herron.
The education of children H Aboriginal languages is one of the agenda items for the Ministerial Council...

IN Parliamentary sittings on June 2nd, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Dr John Herron responded to questions from Senator Margetts, Greens Senator for Western Australia, on the Government's reaction to the bilingual education issue in the Northern Territory.

During the session, Mr John Eldridge, General Manager of the ATSIC Social and Cultural Division, referred to the role played by FATSIL as peak representative and advisory body for indigenous languages in Australia, both now and continuing in the future. He stressed that the actual decision making process on funds allocation lies with ATSIC.

Questions were asked on the role of language centres and community projects involved in the nationwide efforts to preserve and revive indigenous languages within the framework of the ATSILIP budget.

Asked whether the government was prepared to add its support for calls for a reversal of the decision to cut funding for bilingual programs in the NT, Mr Herron referred to the separation of powers between the State and Commonwealth.

"We have got a problem of the separation of the powers of the State as opposed to the Commonwealth, in that we cannot direct how the funding should be apportioned in the Northern Territory... I believe in the preservation and maintenance of Aboriginal languages. On the other hand, the education of children in Aboriginal languages is one of the agenda items for the Ministerial Council for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Affairs meeting (in September). I will await the outcome of that discussion. That includes literacy and numeracy which are, you will appreciate, vital to employment... The delivery of that is, correctly, the responsibility of the states and territories."