Conference a boost for Qld communities PDF Print E-mail
Project ideas were swapped,old acquaintances reconnected and new directions set at the Queensland State Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Conference held H Townsville in June.

One hundred representatives from many of the State's language communities took the opportunity to help plan for the future of language preservation in Queensland. In planning the conference, the coordinating team of Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and FATSIL put together an agenda of topics that applied both to established programs as well as those communities where the first steps for language preservation still have to be taken.

The feedback from the people who attended was that the networking opportunities from the meeting would provide lasting benefits for the communities who sent representatives.

Among the presentations were those by Peter Mulcahy, Director of School Performance from the Qld. Dept. of Education and and Arts, heading a discussion on the future of language education through the state system; Philippa Watt Assistant Manager, Indigenous Transition Unit Languages Program at DCITA, outlining the Federal Governments priority areas for 2004/2005 and Noel Gertz from the Queensland Dept. of Natural Resources and Mines. Noel included a demonstration of a digital mapping system which is set to have broad application for language communities.

The revised ATSIS/DCITA Program Funding Agreements were discussed, with FATSIL undertaking to continue discussions with the funding body on behalf of language communities to resolve some of the concerns, particularly those regarding Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) and copyright. Updates were given on the National Indigenous Languages Survey, the FATSIL Model Contract for publishing language materials and the related Guide to Community Protocols. An AIATSIS presentation by Di Hosking and Marissa Harris helped explain the options available for storing language materials and the processes involved in accessing the records held at the institute.

The open forum allowed many people to share information about projects underway in their country.This time was used also to raise issues of concern with the larger group for new ideas and direction.The open forum presentations, and other sessions where language project workers shared their personal challenges and achievements were inspirational.

Three resolutions relating to future language management were passed unanimously.These were:

1. That the delegates of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Conference endorse the establishment of a State Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee.

2. That there be an interim working group consisting of
• Two representatives from each RALMC
• Queensland FATSIL delegates
• Chaired by Melinda Holden.

3.That the delegates of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Conference resolve to pursue the establishment of a Queensland State Indigenous Languages Policy, with assistance from FATSIL, and refer the matter to the State Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee.

A meeting of the Interim working group is being scheduled for the new year.