The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Chairperson, Professor Mick Dodson AM, has welcomed the announcement of a $5 million injection into the Institute’s budget for the 2015-16 financial year.
Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP announced the funding today, acknowledging the culturally, nationally and internationally significant collection held by AIATSIS.
“Today’s announcement is an important investment in building the capacity of AIATSIS,” Mr Pyne said.
AIATSIS Chairperson Professor Mick Dodson said the increase in funding and the commitment of the government is testament to the productive working relationship developed under Minister Pyne.
“The funding allows work to preserve and digitise our collections to continue for the next twelve months, before it’s too late and they are lost to the ravages of time. This will happen alongside important work with the Minister and the government to plan for AIATSIS’ longer-term future.
“As a Commonwealth national cultural institution, AIATSIS has a central role in enriching our nation’s understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
“AIATSIS supported research showed that Indigenous Australians had been living here for thousands of years longer than was first thought. AIATSIS provided the funding that allowed Eddie Mabo to map his traditional lands, which helped develop our modern understanding of land and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights to it.
“Our research built the AIATSIS collection – now the most extensive and best contextualised collection of Indigenous Australia in the world. This is an unrivalled cultural resource described by a recent independent assessment as ‘a site of pilgrimage’.
“Our Australian languages collection holds information on all of 250 languages spoken at the time of western colonisation, and is now inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, along with the Gutenberg Bible and the Magna Carta.
“Our website and publications provide the gateway to high quality information and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for all.
“Our challenge remains securing ongoing investment in all the critical functions of the Institute. We look forward to working with the Minister and the government on long term funding arrangements for our immensely important work,” Professor Dodson said.
“We at AIATSIS take very seriously the role we fulfill for the nation, keeping safe our unique history for future generations.”
P: 02 6246 1605