What is NAILA?

The National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA) is an annual speech competition that rewards and fosters the development of Indonesian language learning in Australia at all levels.

Primary school students through to executive level speakers are invited to participate in the competition that culminates with a national awards ceremony and networking program. Participants have the opportunity to showcase their language skills, discuss bilateral issues and share traditional arts, culture and musical performances with the public.

Past NAILA awardees have included students learning Indonesian by distance education through to professionals working in government, academia and the arts.

NAILA's mission is to incentivise language learning and reward high-level proficiency. This will encourage deeper communication, respect and understanding between our two nations.


NAILA aims to improve the study of Indonesian language in Australia.
Specifically it aims to:

Encourage communication

Encourage the uptake of Indonesian language learning in Australia and establish a bilingual dialogue on bilateral issues through public speeches.

Reward highly-skilled individuals

Provide incentives and assistance to those who are learning or wish to learn Indonesian. Publicly recognise those who are experts and have excelled in Indonesian language.

Showcase language talent

Showcase Australia's 'hidden' language skills. Share Australian culture, arts and opinion with an Indonesian audience.


NAILA aims to combat the decline in Indonesian language studies in Australia (at primary, secondary and tertiary levels) despite an increasing awareness of our proximity to Asia and of the importance of Asia to our future.

Indonesian is taught widely in primary & secondary schools … however numbers are declining rapidly!

'Indonesian as a second language slumped to the seventh most studied language in VCE, with just 588 students enrolled in 2014…despite the fact it is the third most common language taught in Victorian primary schools, with 40,688 students learning it this year.'

- Jewel Topsfield, The Age, 19 November 2014.

NAILA is also motivated by the need to improve Indonesian language fluency and cultural understanding of Indonesia within Australia.

Students cease studies before fluency is achieved

'A high number of students discontinue before significant fluency is developed… [which] ensures that the number of Australians with high-level Indonesian language skills and understanding of Indonesian culture will remain limited.'

- Michelle Kohler & Dr Phillip Mahnken, 2010 Report.

Cultural differences affect business and trade

'One of the reasons why perhaps we haven’t done as much business with Indonesia in terms of trade and investment is because we don't really understand them culturally.'

- Andrew Parker, The Age, 19 November 2014.