Chairperson sums up a year of achievements PDF Print E-mail

Lester Coyne
Lester Coyne
Lester Coyne has commended the FATSIL committee on a year of record activity and outcomes, which see the organisation well placed to reach the goals of its 2003-2005 Strategic Plan ahead of time.

NOW nearing the end of his seventh term of office, Mr Coyne said this year has been an outstanding one for the peak body in terms of the results achieved. He praised the commitment of the individual committee delegates, and the support and communication flowing through from the members themselves.

"Our job is to listen to our members and reflect the concerns and ideas that are put forward to us, whether they're coming out of individual contact with delegates or the recommendations from state and national conferences.

As I see it, during 2003 we've laid down the groundwork for new targets set to be implemented in the year to come."Some of the key activities of the FATSIL committee in 2003 have been:

Negotiations with the Department of Education, Science and Training to direct funding to language programs.

FATSIL held discussions with the office of Federal Minister for Education Brendan Nelson (Canberra), to present its response to the MCEETYA report on student learning of languages in Australian schools and a number of proposals designed to address the imbalance in national language funding.

This meeting has resulted in FATSIL's inclusion in the National Roundtable on Languages Education, called by the Minister for Education, Science and Training. See report Page 7 and undertakings by the Govt. to provide Indigenous Language Teacher Fellowships (Page 7).

Establishment of Projects Unit

A number of activities are now being managed under the direction of a Project Manager's position, currently being coordinated by Faith Baisden.

Major Projects commenced in 2003 are:

  • Contacts Directory and database project. (Report page 9).
  • Development of a model contract and protocols for community language projects. (See report, page 4 ofVOTL Volume 25).
  • Planning of the National Indigenous Languages Forum. Melbourne 11 —13 Feb 2004. (Report page 6).
  • New election procedures for Governing Committee.

FATSIL has implemented changes to the constitution which were passed at general meetings in late 2002 and early 2003.This has resulted in new election procedures for the selection of state and territory delegates. For a report, see page 2.

Sydney headquarters proposal

FATSIL is negotiating with the Alexandria Park Community School in Sydney to secure a long term lease on purpose built facilities to house the organisation.The move will allow FATSIL to rent premises with adequate space for meeting, library facilities and office space to allow for expansion in the coming years.The facility is currently being renovated and the opportunity was presented to the peak body to nominate requirements for office accommodation.

Appointment of Manager

Plans are underway to employ a manager to oversee the running of the organisation from the Sydney office.An interim manager may be appointed and the position advertised later in 2004.

State language meetings

FATSIL has supported the establishment of the New South Wales Aboriginal Languages Committee and the three State meetings held throughout the year.State meetings are planned for Queensland and Western Australia in 2004.

Queensland Indigenous Languages Policy

FATSIL has implemented government and community consultations in Queensland to establish guidelines for the State's Indigenous Languages Policy.

A state meeting, convened by FATSIL and Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, allowing language community representatives to contribute to the development of the Policy is planned for 2004.

FATSIL has undertaken a review of the Queensland Draft Cultural Heritage Bill, and the Draft discussion paper, Looking after Country Together, (also referred to as the Draft Discussion Paper on Land, Cultural Heritage and Natural Resources Agreement.) Copies of the resulting reports will be forwarded to the Queensland Premier, Minister for Families and Indigenous Affairs, Minister for Natural Resources and Mines,The Queensland Indigenous Working Group, and state language contacts.

For information regarding the state conference, please contact Melinda Holden on 07 4725 7799 or Kate Battersby on 08 8342 2081.

Western Australian Policy

Discussions have been held between FATSIL delegates and politicians from the Labor Government, Greens and Australian Democrats in Western Australia, with support gained for a collaborative approach to the state parliament for the development of a Language Policy. FATSIL will facilitate community consultation through a state meeting in 2004, to outline the goals of the policy.

New South Wales Aboriginal Languages Archiving

The NSW Aboriginal Languages Committee is working to establish a language archiving database project for the state.It is hoped that this could serve as a pilot project for other states, looking to develop web based tools for the recording and teaching of languages, and the development of educational resources.

Establishment of an Aboriginal Language Unit within the Faculty of Arts at the Sydney University. The University of Sydney has agreed to a proposal from FATSIL to discuss the establishment of a language support unit within the Faculty of Arts at the University. One of the functions of this unit would be to run a summer school for languages, offering an accredited 4 week, community based language immersion program.

Collaboration with the New Zealand Language Commission.

Meeting with the New Zealand Language Commission has provided valuable direction and support, with links to other international organisations. See report page 6.

Australian Indigenous Communications Authority

FATSIL has maintained representation on the Interim Committee for the Australian Indigenous Communications Authority. Included in the charter for the peak body is support for the National Indigenous Broadcasting and Communications Service.This will have a significant impact on the promotion of languages to the broader community as well as international markets; will enhance employment opportunities for language speakers and will impact strongly on the future survival of languages.

Ongoing review of Strategic and Operational plans Work has commenced on the Operational plan for 2004, which is due for completion by the first quarterly meeting after the AGM.