Brad Widders praised by Scot MacDonald in Aboriginal Languages debate

State MP Scot MacDonald has praised newly-elected Armidale councillor Brad Widders in a speech in parliament this week.

The upper house MP was speaking about an Aboriginal Languages Bill, which aims to recognise and protect indigenous languages.

“New Armidale councillor Brad Widders is of Aboriginal background,” Mr MacDonald said. “He has encouraged my wife and I to use some Aboriginal words. On his prompting I say, ‘Illana runyerra’. That is ‘good day’ in Kamilaroi and Anaiwan.

“I believe we will hear a lot more from Brad Widders and he will do very well on Armidale Regional Council,” he said.

A proud Anaiwan man, Cr Widders was one of the youngest candidates in the September 9 council election.

The Aboriginal Languages Bill was introduced by Aboriginal Affairs minister Sarah Mitchell, with the key aspect being the appointment of an independent panel of Aboriginal language experts and the establishment of a new languages centre.

There are an estimated 35 different Indigenous languages spoken across the state by an estimated 1800 people, with varying levels of fluency.

Indigenous language expert Lenny Waters described the NSW Upper House’s decision to pass the nation’s first Indigenous Languages Bill, as the biggest step forward in reconciliation since Sorry Day.