Many Voices: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Policy

About the Many Voices policy

The Queensland Government is committed to partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders to reconcile the past and achieve a reframed relationship. In July 2019, the Premier signed the historic joint Statement of Commitment as part of the Tracks to Treaty – Reframing the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders initiative.

To build on this significant step forward in the reconciliation journey, and to foster a shared pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, on 2 September 2020, the Premier launched the Many Voices: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Policy (PDF, 4.4 MB).

The Queensland Government worked in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language experts to co-design and develop the languages policy. This delivered on the action in the Queensland Government Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–2021 for a co-designed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages policy with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The languages policy outlines the Queensland Government's commitment to:

  • recognising the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in maintaining cultural identities and building the resilience of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • working in collaboration with the Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop measures to strengthen and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages
  • promoting Queensland as thriving, vibrant and embraces Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and languages as important to everyone.

Many Voices: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Action Plan

The Many Voices: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Action Plan (PDF, 1.3 MB) Many Voices: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Action Plan (DOCX, 211 KB) has been developed to support the implementation of the languages policy. The plan outlines actions that build on existing initiatives underway across government, encourages whole-of-government support and embeds respect and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in the everyday business of Queensland Government.

It is the first action plan created to realise the languages policy and will span the duration of the United Nations Decade of Indigenous Languages from 2022–32. The plan, and all subsequent plans, will be underpinned by the guiding principles of self-determination, recognition of diversity, truth telling and healing and urgency and action.

It outlines key areas for government action across four priority areas to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in Queensland are strong, acknowledged, maintained and accessible. These include:

Pathways

Investigate strategies aimed at developing physical, cultural and social infrastructure that provides strong foundations to support language growth and maintenance.

Action and activation

Investigate development of language resources and expertise to grow community capacity to share and encourage the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages across all Queensland communities

Restoration and transmission

Investigate strategies to increase the number of people speaking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages regularly including information storage, expertise and local access to learning.

Recognition and promotion

Investigate strategies to grow community awareness and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages to encourage reconciliation and pride in Queensland’s unique cultural heritage.

One of the flagship initiatives is the Indigenous Languages Grants program, co-funded by the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and the Department of Education.