Members of Moree Plains Shire’s Aboriginal community have had their say about proposed legislation to recognise Aboriginal languages within state law.
Moree was chosen as one of 15 locations across the state for Aboriginal Affairs NSW to hold a community workshop about the proposed legislation which would see NSW become the first state in Australia to recognise the importance of Aboriginal languages in law.
The proposed legislation is expected to include statements acknowledging the importance of NSW’s first languages, a strategic plan to protect and revive them, and the establishment of an Aboriginal Languages Centre to support community-led efforts.
Aboriginal Affairs NSW senior project officer Reuben Robinson said the workshops are an important opportunity for community members to have their say.
“Aboriginal people are the owners of their languages, which is why this bill needs to be developed in partnership with Aboriginal communities,” he said. “Community control is the way to make legislation meaningful for Aboriginal people.”
Aboriginal Affairs NSW will look closely at all community feedback so that their views, ideas and opinions are included in the final design of the legislation, which is expected to be introduced to Parliament in early 2018. Follow-up workshops will be announced later in the year.
Aboriginal languages tell the story of the land and its people, and are important to Aboriginal identity and wellbeing. It is hoped that legislation will ultimately provide an enduring basis for the protection and growth of Aboriginal languages in NSW.
For more information, visit the Aboriginal Affairs NSW website at www.aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au/languages-legislation.