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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3933..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

national and local planning, the government is continuing to expand its services to improve educational outcomes for indigenous students through the implementation of the social plan and Within Reach Of Us All, Services to Indigenous People Action Plan 2002-04.

This government's vision is of all people reaching their potential, making a contribution and sharing the benefits of our society. We are working towards addressing disadvantage and social exclusion and making gains over time with indigenous children, young people and their families. The progress discussed throughout this eighth report shows the significant efforts and commitment of an increasing array of contributors. Clearly, our schools and preschools regard as priorities early educational intervention and improved outcomes for indigenous students. This is demonstrated through the increased support given in these areas and reflected through evidence collected such as enrolment figures, academic assessment data and results of targeted programs.

The recently enhanced indigenous home-school liaison program continues to strengthen as staff members gain better skills in developing productive partnerships with students, schools and families. In many areas it is apparent that progress has been made, yet it is recognised that still more needs to be done. The government will not deviate from its commitment to maintaining a focus on indigenous issues, as is reflected through the social plan. Performance in indigenous education plays a vital role in ensuring that goals can be met and improved outcomes achieved. It is especially pleasing to note the variety of ways in which support services are more actively involved in working with indigenous students in schools, community groups and families to improve indigenous outcomes.

This report is set against the four commitments in the services to indigenous people action plan. The major commitments of that plan centre on valuing diversity, forming community partnerships, creating culturally inclusive environments and improving educational outcomes for indigenous students. I would like to draw to the attention of members several significant points relating to these commitments. In the six-month period that this report covers all new school administration officers and building services officers received induction training in inclusive approaches when interacting with indigenous students.

Targeted funding has been directed to professional learning programs for teachers designated as contact persons for indigenous students in schools. Twenty-four contact teachers attended a series of sessions devoted to improving their competence in cross-cultural communication and inclusivity in teaching, as well as receiving information about accessing indigenous assistance programs and strategies for using local indigenous resources. Indigenous representation on school committees is reported, with data collected about indigenous membership of school boards, Aboriginal student support and parent awareness committees and parents and citizens associations.

Primary schools are the most active in this area, with 158 indigenous parents contributing as committee members. During this period, several applications were received from indigenous parents and community members interested in being voluntary members of the Indigenous Education Consultative Body, a 17-member group that advises this government on local indigenous issues. With many members' terms having expired, I look forward to working with this renewed and committed community group and anticipate great interest not only in educational matters but also in the government's

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