THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SENATOR PATRICK DODSON
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
LABOR TO INVEST $19.5 MILLION TO SUPPORT FIRST NATIONS GIRLS’ EDUCATION
Thousands more First Nations girls will benefit because of Labor’s $19.5 million boost to intensive in-school mentoring designed to lift school attendance, Year 12 completions, and employment rates.
Labor’s investment will create almost 8,000 new places in the Stars Foundation’s successful programs to tackle educational disadvantage faced by First Nations girls and young women – tripling the number of girls supported each year.
The Stars Foundation offers full-time, in-school mentoring and engagement programs for young women to help them realise their full potential in all aspects of life.
Existing Stars programs have raised the Year 12 completion rates for Stars students to 96 per cent. In 2017, Stars closed the school attendance gap by 39 per cent in its Northern Territory programs, and more than 90 per cent of its 2016 and 2017 graduates remained in employment or further study a year later.
The $19.5 million commitment will allow the Stars Foundation to build on its successful programs in the Northern Territory and Queensland and expand into schools across Australia, including in the Kimberley in WA.
It can only be hoped that Scott Morrison’s envoy on Indigenous affairs, Tony Abbott, shows support for successful programs such as these.
Currently, fewer than six in ten young First Nations women complete secondary school, compared to more than eight in ten non-Indigenous students. Empowering First Nations women through education delivers improved economic, health and social outcomes for the young women themselves, and for their families and communities.
A good quality education lays the foundation for success in life. Empowering girls and young women will contribute to meeting Close the Gap targets to:
- Improve school attendance and retention rates;
- Increase the number of students finishing year 12 or an equivalent form of work or training; and
- Increase participation in employment.
Stars Foundation has adapted what has been shown to work for First Nations boys through the highly successful Clontarf Academies to develop a program specifically tailored to address the needs of First Nations girls and young women.
Unfortunately, First Nations girls and young women have received significantly fewer opportunities to take part in programs that provide high quality mentoring and school support.
This investment will be funded from the education portfolio.
THURSDAY, 22 NOVEMBER 2018