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Tuesday, 28 April 1987
Page: 1856

To the Honourable the President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled.

The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that whereas:

(a) Aboriginal and Islander languages, which numbered approximately 260 when Europeans first arrived, are even more seriously endangered-already 145 have become extinct.

(b) English-speaking population expansion and English-speaking mass media expansion threatens the survival of the remaining languages of Australia.

(c) Aboriginal languages reflect an ethos that is truly Australian and unless steps are taken to implement language maintenance, this ethos will be lost not only to Aborigines but to non-Aboriginal Australians, and to the world.

We humbly pray the Government to:

1. Through the Prime Minister's Department, provide $300,000 per annum for a guaranteed period of ten years to enable the Aboriginal community of Australia to establish a co-ordinating body to implement steps to prevent the extinction of the remaining languages, and to introduce programmes which will enable these languages to continue into the future for the sake of all Australians. This body will enable us to maximise existing financial, material and human resources, and is the least expensive way of implementing urgently needed maintenance programmes.

2. Through the Prime Minister's Department, provide finance for the establishment of Regional Language Centres-ten are urgently needed-cost $200,000 each.

And we pray you may be conscious of God's sovereign purposes for our Nation.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

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