More than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will be supported to complete their education and enter the next phase of their lives, thanks to a $24 million investment in youth support and schooling by the Coalition Government.
The Coalition is investing the money from July 2016 in a range of projects to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians throughout their schooling, and to transition into further education and employment.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, was joined by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, to announce the funding in Tamworth today at Oxley High School, with representatives of the Clontarf Foundation and Role Models and Leaders Australia.
Mr Joyce said the investment would deliver mentoring, scholarships and other education support to young Indigenous men and women across Australia.
“Education is the passport to a better future for children everywhere. It is no different for Indigenous children, wherever they live,” Deputy Prime Minister Joyce said.
“The Coalition is using all possible levers to ensure Indigenous children have the opportunity to fulfil their full potential. That begins with being at school regularly to receive a decent education.
“A good school education opens up opportunities for higher and vocational education as well as job opportunities and is a key to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.”
Minister Scullion said the new package would deliver the wrap-around support and mentoring that has been proven to deliver improved education outcomes.
“Getting children to attend school every day is one of the Turnbull Coalition’s key priorities in Indigenous Affairs,” Minister Scullion said.
“Organisations like the Clontarf Foundation and Role Models and Leaders Australia are delivering great results by working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to ensure Indigenous students are getting to school regularly and are focused on learning while they are there.
“I am pleased to be supporting the great work being undertaken by both organisations. The Clontarf Foundation and Role Models and Leaders Australia will each receive almost $5 million in funding that will enable both of them to expand the school-based mentoring support they deliver by an additional 1500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
“This complements our strong commitment to needs-based funding for schools, which includes an estimated $248.4 million in 2016, through the Indigenous loading under recurrent funding arrangements.”
Clontarf Chief Executive Officer, Gerard Neesham, thanked the Government for its ongoing support and said the additional funding would enable the foundation to assist more young men more quickly, in turn helping the country to break the cycle of disadvantage.
“We exist to improve the education, discipline, self-esteem, life skills and employment prospects of young Aboriginal men and by doing so, equip them to participate more meaningfully in society,” Mr Neesham said.
“We are fully committed to continuing work in our current locations and are absolutely determined to reach more young Aboriginal men who could benefit from a Clontarf programme.”
Role Models and Leaders Australia founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ricky Grace, said he was delighted the Coalition was providing major funding to expand the organisation’s Girls Academies to a further 1500 Indigenous secondary school girls.
“This important commitment will ensure we are able to meet the needs of young Indigenous girls in secondary schools and improve school attendance and engagement, secondary school graduation and transition into post-school education and training opportunities,” Mr Grace said.
Organisations to be supported through the Turnbull Coalition’s Youth Package include:
• The Clontarf Foundation
• Role Models and Leaders Australia
• Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience
• Australian Indigenous Education Foundation
• Cathy Freeman Foundation
• AFL Cape York House
• Wirrapanda Foundation.
Funding for the Coalition’s Youth Support Package has been provided from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and is for the expansion of programmes from July 2016.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion.