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

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Languages Forum Update November 2019

A short update with some language related news and activities
Full details can be accessed HERE

If you have feedback, contributions for future updates, or would like to join the mailing list for these occasional updates, please send an email to

Friday, October 11, 2019

Languages Afternoon Tea

Come and meet others with a love of languages and language learning at this informal networking event.
  • Games and fun language activities for all ages
  • Explore bilingual storytelling
  • Find out about the African Talking Drum in communication
  • Share ideas about raising children in more than one language 
WHEN:     Sunday 3 November 2pm-4pm
WHERE:  Latin American Cultural Centre, 28 Astrolabe Street, Red Hill, ACT 2603
COST:      Free and all welcome, but booking required to for catering purposes. Via Eventbrite

For more, details contact or phone Mandy on 0408 089 235 (after 23 October)

For poster CLICK HERE

Organised by the ACT Bilingual Education Alliance with the support of the ACT Government's Participation (Multicultural) Grants Program 2018-19 and Canberra Multicultural Community Forum Inc

October ANU Language Teaching Forum

  • Monday 14 October, 4.15 – 5.15 pm 
  • Room W3.03, Level 3, Baldessin Precinct Building #110, ANU.
  • Presenter: Negar Davari Ardakani from Persian Language Studies in CAIS 
  • Topic: Discourse Awareness in Language Teaching: a Reflection on My Teaching Philosophy
Everyone involved in language teaching and research within the ANU and in the wider community are welcome to participate in these forum meetings. The main objective is to foster the exchange of research and new approaches in language education.

For more information and/or to join the mailing list, contact Wesley Lim at

Friday, September 13, 2019

Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry

  • Monday 14 October, 7pm to 9pm
  • Smith's Alternative, 76 Alinga, Civic.
  • Free Entry.
Come and share your words or just enjoy the multilingual program. 

The feature for the evening - celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages - will be father and daughter Deveni and Salote Temu. They will perform traditional Aroma song and dance of coastal Papua New Guinea, share Peroveta missionary song in mixed Aroma, Motu and other Pacific languages, and take part in a discussion about knowledge, identity and language. 

There are a limited number of open mic spots available for the night. Those interested in presenting are invited to share poetry in, or including, a language other than English, or a mix of languages. 
Each spot is up to 5 minutes long. You can read or recite, and all styles of poetry are welcome - traditional forms, free verse, slam style or rap!  You can include a brief summary or introduction in English, or a full translation if you prefer.  To reserve a spot, email

This Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry Night is part of the Poetry on the Move Festival Fringe. For more details of the festival, see

Thursday, September 12, 2019

September ANU Language Teaching Forum

  • Monday 16 September, 4.15 – 5.15 pm 
  • Room W3.03, Level 3, Baldessin Precinct Building #110, ANU.
  • Presenter: Josh Brown from Italian Studies
  • Topic: On ‘Crisis’ and the Pessimism of Disciplinary Discourse in Foreign Languages
This paper investigates how the disciplinary discourse on the contemporary state of foreign languages in universities (hastily) refers to these disciplines as being in ‘crisis’. This practice is nearly as old as the Humanities itself, and has been employed periodically since at least the 1940s. Despite a period of increasing foreign language enrolment in the first decade of the twenty-first century in Australia, calls of ‘crisis’ came from across the languages sector. In tracing the use of the term ‘crisis’, I show how the sector has long been characterised by such alarmist terminology, even when reality suggests otherwise. A topical report of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, which shows increased language enrolment over the period 2002-11, leads one to believe that things at universities may not be as bad as first thought. These data are contrasted against total enrolment in languages other than English from the most recent statistics available in 2016 from the Modern Language Association. This paper has implications for language enrolments not just in Australia, but around the world.

Everyone involved in language teaching and research within the ANU and in the wider community are welcome to participate in these forum meetings. The main objective is to foster the exchange of research and new approaches in language education. 

For more information and/or to join the mailing list, contact Wesley Lim at

Monday, August 26, 2019

SBS National Languages Competition 2019

This national competition organised by SBS Radio aims to encourage and celebrate a love of learning languages in Australia. Languages learners from 4 years old to adult are invited to tell SBS “How does learning a language make a world of difference to you?” 

  • Open to Australian residents learning an additional language, including Auslan and English 
  • Five categories: 4 – 7 yrs old, 8 – 12 yrs old, 13 – 15 yrs old, 16 – 18 yrs old and 18+ 
  • Prizes: Apple iPads and Apple AirPods plus trip to award ceremony in Sydney in November 2019
  • Entries close 5pm 27 September 2019
​For more information:     For poster click HERE