NSW has become the first state in the country to introduce legislation to Parliament to acknowledge the unique value and importance of language to our First Peoples and to the State.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was proud the NSW Government today introduced the landmark bill, in the presence of Aboriginal Elders and community representatives, which recognises the significance of NSW’s first languages and will protect and revive them for future generations.
“Today is an historic day. This legislation will acknowledge the importance of Aboriginal languages for years to come,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell said the NSW Government had worked alongside language experts and Aboriginal communities, including at 32 meetings and workshops around NSW, to develop the Bill.
“It was crucial to get a diverse range of opinions and input from all over the state to ensure the legislation was as sturdy as possible,” Ms Mitchell said.
“The Bill was introduced in the Upper House today in the presence of Aboriginal Elders and community representatives with a moving message stick ceremony – symbolic of Aboriginal people’s custodianship of language.”
The Legislation includes the establishment of an independent trust made up of Aboriginal community leaders, who will oversee the development a strategic plan to protect and strengthen Aboriginal languages through programs, partnerships and funding.