21 February 2022

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is helping to revitalise, empower and embrace the many different Aboriginal languages spoken in our state.

This year marks the start of the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages that seeks to reverse the loss of Indigenous languages spoken around the world.

Language is a fundamental part of our culture and identity. For Victorian Traditional Owners it is a way to share their rich history, traditions and connection to Country. In Victoria we have over 38 Aboriginal languages, but sadly many are being lost.

DELWP is partnering with Traditional Owners, naming places in Aboriginal languages, working with local councils, and supporting Indigenous artists as part of a range of initiatives over the decade.

Initiatives will encourage the use of Aboriginal languages in Victoria, support Traditional Owners in language revitalisation, encourage greater use of Aboriginal languages, highlight stories behind place names and educate the community about Victoria’s rich Aboriginal history.

Led by DELWP’s Geographic Names Victoria, place naming will be one of the important ways we can deliver practical outcomes for the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages.

Naming places with Victorian Aboriginal languages gives Traditional Owners the opportunity to connect a name to a place, which is fundamental to connection to Country. It enables Victorians to use Aboriginal languages in their everyday interactions in local communities and helps preserve the languages into the future.

This is further supported by the naming rules review, with the updated naming rules soon be released with a greater focus on promoting the use of Aboriginal languages in place naming.

With the decade just starting, this first year is an opportunity to work together to develop a series of initiatives to deliver. DELWP will be engaging with Traditional Owners, recognised community groups and organisations to develop a shared vision for the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages.

This work is also part of DELWP’s commitment to Aboriginal self-determination in the strategy Pupangarli Marnmarnepu.

Read more about naming places using Aboriginal languages in Victoria:

Page last updated: 11/07/23