WA meeting in Port Hedland PDF Print E-mail
THE first of two West Australian State Language Conferences for 2004 was held in Port Hedland from the 8th to the 10th September and was attended by representatives of language centres and language programs from Geraldton to the far north of the state.

A full agenda over two and a half days gave delegates the opportunity to discuss many issues that are relevant to the northern WA region as well as others that are impacting on all programs nationally. Included in these were the concerns felt by groups relating to the Program Funding Agreements from DCITA, and in particular, the ownership of materials produced as a result of the funding agreements.

Those who attended appreciated the presentations from FATSIL, DCITA and the Dept of Education, and found it useful to be able to speak directly to officers from each of the organizations.

The conference was coordinated by the staff at Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre and resulted in a set of clear recommendations being drafted.

These included:

  • That a strategic plan for the Network of Aboriginal Language Centres be developed.
  • That each language centre conducts a 3 week survey on activities and client numbers to support the development of the Strategic plan
  • That letters be sent to the federal government outlining the need for changes in funding policy.
  • That future strategic planning address the issue of training needs for language teachers.
  • That a letter be sent to FATSIL to ask that the constitution be changed to allow centres (not just individual people) to become members of FATSIL.
  • That consideration be given to forming a national alliance of language centres.

The meeting looked at the subject of training for language specialists. It was agreed that the current rate of pay was not adequate, and that this situation could be addressed by developing an accredited course for language workers that would be recognized by NAATI.

The benefits for language workers of being able to talk with others in the same field were once again reinforced at this conference, with people finding new contacts to share knowledge, experiences and resources.The Language Conference for southern WA will be held in Albany on 11th and 12th November. Both meetings were funded by ATSIS.