Teaching First Nations Languages in Schools

By Stewart, Skye Griffiths – (03) 9070 1920 | Clare, Nick Trainor – 0417 143 962 | McCarthy, Jamal Ben Haddou – 0417 387 775 | Chisholm, James Laidler – 0458 729 475

23 January 2024

Senator Jana Stewart
Labor Senator for Victoria


The Hon Jason Clare MP
Minister for Education


The Hon Senator Malarndirri McCarthy
Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians
Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health


The Hon Senator Anthony Chisholm MP
Assistant Minister for Education
Assistant Minister for Regional Development



The Albanese Government is investing more than $14 million to support primary schools to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in classrooms across Australia.

Expressions of interest are now open for the First Nations Languages Education Program which aims to lift the uptake of First Nations language learning by young Australians and keep First Nations languages alive.

The Program has been developed in partnership with First Languages Australia (FLA), the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

The initiative recognises that each community will have different aspirations and needs for teaching and sustaining First Nations languages. In addition to funding a local language plan, the program will also support up to 60 First Nations Language educators in primary schools across Australia.

The Program aims to progress Target 16 of Closing the Gap: to support a sustained increase in the number and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages being spoken.

Expressions of interest are currently open. First Nations language communities can submit their EOI to First Languages Australia via an online form until 28 February 2024.

First Languages Australia will work with each community that submits an EOI to understand their local language needs, support them to identify partner schools and develop a language plan that maps the pathway for the placement of educators within schools.

First Nations languages communities who complete a language plan with First Languages Australia will then be invited to apply for a grant, when the grant round opens in early 2024.

For more information, visit: www.education.gov.au/schooling/first-nations-languages.


Quotes attributable to Senator for Victoria Jana Stewart:

“I remember being in a classroom and none of my classmates understood the significance of Indigenous cultures and languages that have shaped Australia's past 60,000 years.

“I’m pleased to see that the next generation of First Nations kids will be able to share their culture, history and languages with their peers.

“This program is significant to help keep First Nations languages alive and bridge the divide in educational attainment.”


Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare:

“This program will help more young Australians develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the first languages and cultures of this country.”


Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians Malarndirri McCarthy:

“It’s important to know that Indigenous languages, from the oldest continuing cultures on earth, will be taught in classrooms around the country.

“All students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous will benefit from this program that will ensure First Nations languages thrive into the future.”


Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Education Senator Anthony Chisholm:

“Preserving the languages of the world’s oldest continuous civilisation is central to promoting a strong and vibrant First Nations culture within Australia and to the rest of the world.

"The program will help strengthen and preserve languages, cultures, identities and the wellbeing of First Nations people and support school attendance, engagement and academic achievement for students.

“It will also help support the placement of up to 60 First Nations language educators in primary schools that are involved in local community partnerships from 2024.”