Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Boost for arts and language in Mimili

A $183,000 Australian Government investment will help create local jobs and retain local culture and language in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today visited the APY Lands to announce $142,000 funding for a new arts centre in Mimili, and $41,000 to save the Yankunytjatjara language from being forever lost.

Ms Macklin said that total Government investment for a new arts centre in Mimili is now at $1.2 million, thanks to a $745,000 investment from the Regional Development Australia Fund, and joint Australian and South Australian funds of $337,000 for adjoining staff accommodation.

“These combined funds will enable Mimili Maku Arts to build a new centre on a new block, with construction expected to finish by early next year,” Ms Macklin said.

“Successful art centres are often a crucial source of generating commercial income within Indigenous communities, especially in remote areas, and income generated through art sales is reinvested in local communities.

“Arts centres also help local people remain connected to culture.”

Mimili Maku Arts has also received $41,000 for a Yankunytjatjara language preservation project.

“Yankunytjatjara, one of four Indigenous languages spoken in Mimili, is in danger of being forever lost. It is estimated that there are less than 300 remaining speakers.” Ms Macklin said.

“The language preservation project will document senior Yankunytjatjara men and women telling stories about growing up on Yankunytjatjara country, develop literacy materials in Yankunytjatjara for use in Anangu schools on the APY Lands, and develop an interactive website with stories about growing up on Yankunytjatjara country.

“I know this means so much to the Yankunytjatjara people, that their language and culture is passed down to future generations.

“The elders and speakers who support this proposal have great knowledge of language and culture to offer, and it is important to preserve this knowledge while we still can.”

The funding is part of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account.

The Australian Government has invested $46 million over three years to the Indigenous Remote Service Delivery Special Account for high-priority projects in remote communities, focusing on projects identified by communities as part of their Local Implementation Plans.

These projects build on the Australian Government’s unprecedented investment to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.