Qld Government commits to State Language Policy PDF Print E-mail
THE Queensland Government has undertaken the development of a comprehensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Policy for the State, to ensure that rights through language heritage are appropriately addressed across all Government departments and programs.

In a meeting with FATSIL to discuss the outline of the proposed policy, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy, Judy Spence confirmed the Government's intention to support the preservation and promotion of languages, as part of its commitment to improving education, health and social outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders.

The policy development will be coordinated by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy in a process involving ongoing community consultation and input from relevant government and non government agencies.

The initial stages will involve the assessment of current programs and the projected needs of individual communities. The process will identify the key agencies involved in terms of funding responsibilities, and as advice and service providers.

FATSIL Chairperson Lester Coyne said the development of the State Language Policy demonstrated the Government's commitment to supporting social and cultural change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"The Queensland Government has been focusing for some time now on a raft of social issues that affect the lifestyle and opportunities of people in the State's Indigenous communities. It's commendable that they've acknowledged the bandaid measures, previously used in these situations, can't achieve the long term results that will come about through strategic planning for community and cultural support.

The Minister, Judy Spence is recognising the need to make changes from the ground up, and that a language policy will have a lasting impact on social and educational opportunities for our young people." Mr Coyne said that FATSIL as the peak body, would continue its discussions with Governments in all states, and to lobby federal politicians until Australia catches up with overseas nations in giving due recognition to the cultural rights of its Indigenous people.

In another recent initiative, the Queensland Government has introduced the concept of community champions, through which each community will be offered the opportunity to accept a Director-General of a State Government department as an advocate for their community.This person will develop a direct relationship with the community, represent their interests and provide high level support within Government to achieve community aims.

The community champion program is designed to enhance government accountability for action on Indigenous issues, and to give communities a stronger voice across all government agencies.

Denise Karpany
Denise Karpany
The FATSIL committee would like to say a big thanks to Denise Karpany, who has resigned from the position of South Australian delegate after 8 years, the past 5 years of which Denise was the committee's vice-chairperson. We have no doubt that Denise will continue on as an active member, and will still be heavily involved at the State level.