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New Regional Language Centre opens for Torres Strait

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) and partner Tagai State College, have opened a Regional Language Centre on Thursday Island to drive traditional language revitalisation.

Based in the Yangu Pawaw Ngurpay Mudh building on the grounds of Waybeni Koey Ngurpay Mudh – Tagai State College Secondary Campus, the Centre coordinates regional and community-specific efforts to retrieve, record and research the traditional languages of the Torres Strait.

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM said the Centre was the culmination of a four-year project by the TSRA and partner Tagai State College, together with a dedicated group of community representatives.

“Since 2015 the TSRA has worked with partners in the region to develop a strategy to address the critical threat to the two traditional languages of the Torres Strait and their dialects,” Mr Stephen said.

“Through two community language symposia, the TSRA has supported the establishment of a Torres Strait Language Reference Group and Advisory Committee to drive the development and implementation of a Torres Strait Traditional Languages Plan (2016-2019) and Charter.

“This Traditional Languages Plan will guide the operations and activities of the newly established Regional Language Centre and inform the Centre’s revitalisation and maintenance projects in the region”.

Mr Stephen said the Centre would operate as an independent community organisation with a focus on capacity building, with the support of Tagai State College in its first year.

“The Regional Language Centre will have an important role in supporting the activities of established community-based language teams, and individual members who are already undertaking critical language-based work,” he said.

“The Centre will also have a key advocacy role to promote understanding, broader community involvement and policy and law reform”.

The Regional Language Centre is open to the public by appointment via interim Centre manager, Ms Stephanie Savage.  Contact visit www.tstlanguages.orgfor more information.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.