Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Language Policies in the ACT

In the lead up to the general election for the ACT Legislative Assembly on Saturday 17 October 2020, we look at the current state of Languages Policy in the ACT.

Many Voices: 2012-16 ACT Languages Policy 

This policy was never updated, though the Community Participation Group of the ACT Community Services Directorate did collect extensive input in preparation for an updated version from the Canberra community, ACT government directorates and agencies in 2016. The policy has since disappeared from the ACT government site, but a scanned copy of the text can be accessed HERE

ACT Language Services Policy

Released without much fanfare in late 2018, this policy mainly covers the Languages Services part of Many Voices. The last four ‘Policy Aims’ on page 3, however, do relate to wider language issues. 

"To further enable Canberrans who communicate using a language other than English to effectively access government services, the ACT Government will:
  • provide opportunities for people to improve their English language skills by funding English language programs for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers;
  • support people who communicate using a language other than English to maintain and develop skills in their first language;
  • promote language learning as a cross-cultural opportunity to develop understanding and appreciation of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds; and
  • acknowledge and recognise the social and cultural challenges faced by culturally and linguistically diverse people when communicating in English as a second language."
 A full copy of Languages Services Policy can be accessed HERE

ACT Multicultural Framework 2015-2020: Second Action Plan 2019-2020

Languages are a significant part of Strategic Objective 3 of this Framework: 'Capitalising on the Benefits of our Cultural Diversity'. 

One of the three outcomes listed for Strategic Objective 3:
  • Language learning is effective, valued and promoted across the community.
Six of the eight Priority Actions in Strategic Objective 3
  • Undertake an independent review on investment in ACT Community Language Schools
  • Develop an action plan to encourage, improve and support language education in Canberra schools as part of implementing the Future of Education Strategy
  • Continue to work with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community on languages and culture curriculum
  • Support and further develop the Languages Showcase at National Multicultural Festival.
  • Collect and promote the oral and printed history of established multicultural communities in the ACT.
  • Engage with the multicultural community to promote and support cultural and linguistic diversity through Libraries ACT resources and learning programs in languages other than English
A full copy of the Second Action Plan can be accessed HERE

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