Queensland Government grants support communities to keep First Nations languages alive

Published Wednesday, 31 May, 2023 at 01:49 PM


Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace

Minister for Treaty, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Minister for Communities and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

  • The Indigenous Languages Grants program supports projects and cultural activities that preserve, maintain and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
  • Grants of up to $10,000 are available for Queensland-based initiatives that support the preservation of First Nations languages.
  • Applications for the latest round of Indigenous Languages Grants opened on Monday 8 May and close on Monday 12 June 2023.
  • Previous grant recipients have shared how their language projects are strengthening culture and communities across Queensland.

Applications for the 2023 Indigenous Languages Grants program are open, with grants of up to $10,000 available for Queensland-based initiatives that support the preservation of First Nations languages.

Funding for community-led language projects promises to revitalise an important part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity.

From musicals celebrating stories and songs from the Torres Strait to signage and educational resources in South-East Queensland, previous Queensland Government-supported language projects continue to strengthen culture and communities.

A range of cultural activities may be eligible for an Indigenous Languages Grant, including art, drama, music and film projects, Yarning Circles, audio recordings, workshops, signage, books, posters and brochures.

The grants are proudly co-funded by the Department of Treaty, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Communities and the Arts and the Department of Education.

Applications close on Monday 12 June 2023. More information, including how to apply, is available at qld.gov.au/ilg.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Treaty and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Leeanne Enoch:

“Past government policies and practices leading to the separation of families and the suppression of culture and language have contributed to the breakdown of many First Nations languages in Queensland, and ongoing challenges to strengthen and grow the use of these languages.

“It is reported that of the more than 100 languages spoken in Queensland, only around 50 remain intact today, with fewer than 20 used as first languages.

“The Queensland Government is committed to reframing the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and contributing to the preservation and revitalisation of First Nations languages through programs such as the Indigenous Languages Grants.

“Language connects people to culture, Country and kin. It also transmits and preserves cultural knowledge and understanding.

“The preservation of the original languages of Queensland is the preservation of ancient cultural treasure – not just for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and not just for Queenslanders, but for everyone.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Grace Grace:

“Projects funded by the Indigenous Languages Grants program strengthen culture and communities, creating connections and providing cultural learning opportunities for younger generations.

“Language is so important to culture and identity and since 2019, the Palaszczuk Government has invested over $700,000 to support 90 initiatives, many of which have been driven by schools and educators across Queensland.

“These have included storybooks in Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u language to promote literacy and language learning among young children in Lockhart River; educational resources and signage in Gubbi Gubbi and Joondoburri language to educate local children and the wider community about a Bribie Island bushwalk; and a musical sharing stories and songs from the Torres Strait.

“Children are the leaders of tomorrow and this important will program will complement our work in schools to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are preserved for generations to come.”

Quotes attributable to Emma Schuh, Director, Kuunchi Kakana Centre, Puuya Foundation

“The Indigenous Languages Grant has allowed us to fill a gap in language resources for preschool and primary school-aged children in Lockhart River and promote literacy and language learning,

“The funding was used to create six storybooks in Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u language about everyday activities and conversations that the children can relate to in digital and hardcopy formats, which are being used in schools and homes across Lockhart River.

“The languages were at risk of being lost, but with the Queensland Government’s support through this grant, we’ve been able to work with families to make the Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u language part of our weekly learning and create connections within the wider Lockhart River community. It creates cultural learning opportunities for our children and young people.”

Quotes attributable to Aunty Ruth Ghee, Team Leader and Cultural Adviser to Straight from the Strait

“Revitalising, maintaining, preserving and celebrating the languages of the Torres Strait is one of the important goals of the creative team behind the ‘Straight from the Strait’ project,”

“Straight from the Strait is a musical combining traditional dance, language and song with contemporary music to celebrate the legacy of the Torres Strait Island men who left their homes and families to build much of Australia’s railway transport infrastructure.

“The 2022 Songlines Tour was conceived so that we could engage with community and local language experts from Meriam Mir and Kala Lagaw to ensure accuracy and authenticity as we learned and performed traditional songs. 

“Thanks to the Indigenous Languages Grant, we were also able to professionally record and translate 10 of these songs during the tour, as well as proudly performing for community on Thursday Island.

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to preserve this vital cultural legacy in such a meaningful way.”