The Gillard Government will be delivering a $22 million funding boost to help more than 3000 Indigenous students across the country complete their secondary education.
School Education Minister Peter Garrett today announced the Government will provide an additional $10 million to the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation this year, and a further $12 million under the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program over the next four years as part of the 2013-14 Budget.
Mr Garrett said the extra funding for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation will help support another 733 Indigenous students to attend boarding school.
“This funding boost means that since 2008, Labor has delivered a total of $32 million to the Foundation, benefitting more than 2,300 Indigenous students across the country,” Mr Garrett said.
“As part of our agreement with the AIEF, every dollar the Commonwealth invests is matched by a dollar from corporate and private support, meaning the organisation will benefit from a total of $64 million as a result of our support.
“These scholarships are crucial in helping young Indigenous people complete Year 12 and ensuring they have an opportunity to secure a job and lead fulfilling lives.
“Education is the passport out of poverty for many young Indigenous people and this extra funding will help even more students reach their goals.
“It also has a ripple effect in communities. The more young people who finish school and get into university, the more role models there are for future generations of Indigenous youth. ”
The new funding for the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program will support 204 new scholarships for Indigenous students.
The additional funding in this year’s budget will provide scholarships for 68 students in 2014 in each of Years 7, 8 and 11.
Since 2006, more than 1,500 secondary and tertiary students have been assisted under the IYLP. More than 86 per cent of students have been retained in the program or have completed Year 12, and more than 98 per cent of students who have begun Year 12 have completed the year.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the Gillard Government had made unprecedented investments to help close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
“After years of underinvestment and neglect, Labor’s investments are making a real difference for Indigenous people,” Ms Macklin said.
“This year we are meeting our first closing the gap target, with more Indigenous children having access to pre-school or kindergarten than ever before, and our target of halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018 is also on track to be met.
“The new funding announced today will build on this good work, helping even more Indigenous kids gets every chance at a good education, a good job and a brighter future.”
Ms Macklin said the Government was delivering sustainable, long term investments to close the gap.
“Mr Abbott has so far refused to guarantee funding for Indigenous programs and organisations,” Ms Macklin said.
“This Labor Government has set out a clear pathway to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, and we’re making the investments that are needed to get there.
“We won’t close the gap without the certainty of these long-term investments, or without partnerships between government and Indigenous organisations.
“The progress we’ve made in partnership with Indigenous people is at risk under a conservative Abbott Government.”
This additional funding is on top of around $690 million already invested by the Gillard Government in Indigenous education, including:
- $543 million to support the Stronger Futures NT National Partnership;
- more than $128 million to for the Australian Indigenous Education Action Plan; and
- nearly $20 million for the Teach Remote program which places high quality teachers into remote communities.
The Gillard Governments National Plan for School Improvement will also include a particular focus on the needs of Indigenous children.
Funding for schools will be based on a Schooling Resource Standard, which includes a base amount per student and additional funding for schools and students that need more support, including indigenous students.
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