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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4113..


Indigenous education-fifth six-monthly report

Paper and statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations): Mr Speaker, for the information of members and in accordance with the resolution of the Assembly of 24 May 2000, I present the following paper:

Indigenous education-Fifth six-monthly report to 31 August 2002.

I ask for leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I am very pleased to present the fifth sixth-monthly report on performance in indigenous education. The report covers the period from March 2002 to 31 August 2002. Mr Speaker, the Labor Party, through you, initiated this reporting in 2000. Four reports have been tabled since then and the government is pleased to continue this reporting.

The continued commitment of the government to improving educational outcomes for indigenous students is reflected in the initiatives and programs in place. The government recognises that many of the needs of indigenous students can be addressed through support programs for all students at risk of not achieving satisfactory outcomes. There are additional needs that the government recognises require targeted assistance.

While much is being achieved in improving outcomes for indigenous students, there is still a considerable gap between the performance of indigenous and non-indigenous students. Setting up and implementing programs that will close the gap in outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous students is the priority of the government.

Mr Speaker, I would like to draw to the attention of members a number of key elements of this report. Firstly, the government has committed $787,000 over the next four years to improve services to indigenous students and their families. In the 2002-03 financial year, $190,000 is allocated above the previous level of funding. The initiative will improve the home school liaison services to indigenous students, their families and schools by establishing an additional nine home school liaison positions.

The home school liaison officers will work with indigenous students in schools and pre-schools, assisting with program delivery. They will focus on attendance issues and literacy and numeracy performance as part of their core activity. They will provide a crucial link between the school and home. The increase in the number of liaison officers will allow an improved support service to be provided to indigenous families with children in ACT government schools.

To be able to improve the quality of the services, the home school liaison officers will need appropriate training. All indigenous home school liaison officers will be provided with training at the certificate IV level in governance and indigenous affairs. In addition to these position, there will be two new indigenous education support officer positions. These officers will supervise the work of the home school liaison officers, manage any


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