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NSW grants announced to boost language revitalisation

Giovanni Torre -

The New South Wales government has announced $1.6 million in grants to boost the revitalisation of Aboriginal languages.

Grants of between $1000 and $60,000 are available for Aboriginal communities to nurture and promote Aboriginal languages with applications closing on 7 April this year.

NSW is home to approximately 35 Aboriginal languages, many of which cross borders into other states. Of the top ten Aboriginal languages being renewed nationwide - in terms of number of speakers - six are languages used in NSW: Wiradjuri, Bundjalung, Gamilaraay, Gumbaynggirr, Yorta Yorta, and Paakantyi.

New South Wales remains the only jurisdiction in Australia with legislation in place to preserve and enhance Aboriginal languages, and the state delivers some of the world's leading language revitalisation programs.

The Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative in Nambucca Heads supports seven Aboriginal Nations from the Central Coast to North Coast of NSW while the Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre in Newcastle uses a Miromaa software platform to revitalise the Awabakal language.

The Aboriginal Languages Trust, established in 2017, under the Aboriginal languages' legislation, administers the two grants programs: $650,000 available through the Aboriginal Languages Revival Program to strengthen the capacity of Aboriginal groups and organisations to develop new or emerging language activities, that can lead to ongoing language activities. Grants range from $1,000 to $24,999; and the Aboriginal Languages Sustainable Funding Program is an invitation only competitive grants program offering grants of between $25,000 and $60,000 for organisations to continue their language revitalisation projects that were successful in receiving grants in the Revival Program. $990,000 is available in this program.

Information on the grant programs, including how to apply can be found online.

Aboriginal Languages Trust executive director Clare McHugh said on Wednesday that the Trust is "passionate about supporting community to grow the incredible range of Aboriginal language activities underway across NSW".

"The Trust is here to actively support the realisation of community's languages aspirations which are diverse and reflect the varying stages of languages revitalisation. I urge communities across NSW to apply for these grants," she said.

NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty, David Harris, said the government recognises that "when Aboriginal people have a say on issues and programs that affect them, we get better outcomes".

"Aboriginal communities know what they need for their languages to thrive, and these grants will support their efforts to revitalise Aboriginal Languages across NSW. I encourage Aboriginal organisations and groups to apply," he said.

"I am proud of the NSW government's continued commitment to strengthening Aboriginal languages which are not only integral to the identity and cultural heritage of Aboriginal communities, but to the state of NSW."

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