Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 3 Hansard (21 March) . .
and IT Equipment, a Master of Visual Arts, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander foundation program, to name just a few. This is an investment in our community, and I hope these grants will encourage others in the community to undertake study knowing that there is support from the ACT government to overcome some of the financial barriers.
A second round of scholarship and leadership grants will open shortly, and I encourage all eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans to check the Community Services Directorate website, or indeed the stronger families website, for information on how to apply for a scholarship and leadership grant.
MR STEEL: Minister, can you provide some examples of the other projects the government has funded to support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, training and development opportunities?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Steel for his supplementary. In recognition of the important role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled organisations in delivering positive outcomes for our community, funding of $100,000 over four years will provide support for new and emerging ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled organisations. This program, delivering on an election commitment, will support organisations to provide effective community-managed programs and businesses to embed culture and employ local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. Applications to the program will open later this month, and I encourage all eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to check again the Community Services Directorate website or the stronger families portal for information on how to apply.
We are also investing in vocational education and training programs that include measures to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to overcome barriers to learning. The ACT Australian apprenticeships program is a significant contributor to employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT. Skills Canberra provides subsidies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans undertaking an Australian apprenticeship qualification with up to $16,500 per apprentice or trainee. This investment is paying off. The latest figures show an 88 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans employed through an Australian apprenticeship. The latest figures from the Productivity Commission report, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2016, indicates the ACT is on track towards halving the gap in employment outcomes this year.
MS LEE: My question is to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development. Minister, the 2017 ACT Auditor General's report Performance Information in ACT Public Schools noted that in 2015 and in 2016 ACT public school NAPLAN results were worse than for similar schools across Australia. The Education Directorate-commissioned report from the Centre for International Research on Education Systems reached similar conclusions. Today you wrote an article in the Canberra Times in which you stated that NAPLAN may be doing more harm than
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