FATSIL to address House of Representatives hearing in Canberra PDF Print E-mail
The Governing Committee of FATSIL has been invited to attend a hearing with the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, at a special sitting in Canberra on 1st November 2000.

THE House of Representatives Committee has been asked by the Minister, Senator Herron to inquire into the present and ongoing needs of country and metropolitan urban dwelling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to aid the Government in developing practical measures to help Indigenous people.

The Terms of Reference direct the Committee to examine:

  1. The nature of existing programs and services available to urban dwelling indigenous Australians, including ways to- more effectively deliver services considering the special needs of those people;
  2. Ways to extend the involvement of urban indigenous people in decision making affecting their local communities, including partnership governance arrangements;
  3. The situation and needs of indigenous young people in urban areas, especially relating to health, education, employment and homelessness (including access to services funded from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program);
  4. The maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in urban areas, including where appropriate, ways in which such maintenance can be encouraged.
  5. Opportunities for economic independence in urban areas, and 
  6. Urban housing needs and the particular problems and difficulties associated with urban areas.

The Committee hopes that among its outcomes, the inquiry will further encourage indigenous people to involve themselves in decision making at the community level.

FATSIL Chairperson, Lester Coyne has welcomed the opportunity for the Governing Committee to attend the hearing at Parliament House. "Languages have been recognised as the pivotal element in the establishment of cultural identity over a broad range of issues, from court decisions on Native Title, right through to the reconnection of family and community ties in the case of enforced separations, while also being the reference point for the setting of protocols in significant areas."

Mr Coyne said that the language belonging to a particular community provides a unique vehicle for understanding the culture, the social interconnections and the traditions of that community. "Particularly for our youth, language programs are producing tangible benefits for young people who have become involved in work with their elders and their traditional communities."

The FATSIL submission to the Inquiry will include in its proposals

  • The development of a National policy framework for community language maintenance initiatives as opposed to those driven by States and the Territory;
  • The development of a policy framework for language program funding;
  • Establishing measures to ensure that language rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia are protected by legislation.