Release type: Media Release

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Gillard launches MARVIN partnership

In Perth today, the Minister for Education and Employment has announced an exciting new partnership between the Australian Government and the MARVIN team at the Northern Territory Institute for Community Engagement and Development (NTICED).

The Australian Government is working with the MARVIN team to help create employment and business opportunities for indigenous Australians; the chance to share their stories, train others in animation and travel the globe.

MARVIN is a computer program that uses animated characters to share important messages about services, business and culture in indigenous languages.

Messages can be produced by this program within the community by the community and using local community dialect.

This exciting partnership means all indigenous organisations and individuals in regional and remote locations across Australia can assess a free licence to use MARVIN.

MARVIN has fantastic potential to provide a bridge from the oldest living culture in the world using today’s cutting edge technology.

Indigenous organisations and individuals in regional and remote locations will now be able to create messages in MARVIN or to work as trainers to teach others to use the program.

In September 2007, Microsoft announced a global partnering and distribution deal with NTICED in relation to MARVIN distribution.

The agreement will make MARVIN available to schools and educational facilities free of charge in over 100 countries and will be one of the largest software distribution deals ever undertaken by an Australian company.

Fifty Indigenous cadets will be selected to become MARVIN trainers for the NTICED, and some will travel overseas to train other Indigenous people in developing nations to use the program in their own country.

This initiative is one example of how the Rudd Government is taking steps to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, by offering both education and employment opportunities to Indigenous Australians.