Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 3 May 2007) . . Page.. 947 ..
COAG’s vision of an Australia in which indigenous people come to enjoy the same overall standard of living as other Australians is to be achieved.
The ACT has a number of programs and initiatives to assist indigenous students to achieve quality outcomes. Previous reports to the Assembly on the performance in indigenous education have provided information about the on track program. This program was originally trialled as the Birrigai boys program in 2004. Through a grant from the community inclusion fund the program was expanded and continued in 2005 as the on track program. The program is aimed at improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary students in the areas of attendance, behaviour, self-identity, literacy and numeracy. In 2006 there was a further expansion of this program to include indigenous female students. Thirty-four indigenous students enrolled in government schools in years 4 to 6 benefited from the program in 2006.
Opportunities for all ACT students to learn about and understand indigenous culture occurred through celebrations of National Sorry Day and NAIDOC Week. A new after-school program for indigenous students, managed in partnership between the Department of Education and Training and the Australian Catholic University, commenced. Participating students learn about aspects of their culture as well as enhancing skills in literacy and numeracy. Eliminating the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students in literacy and numeracy continued to be the primary focus.
The ACTAP results for years 3, 5, 7 and 9 indicate improvements for indigenous students. A very pleasing result was achieved for students in year 5, whereas year 4 students were in the lowest 20 per cent of students tested. These students were targeted for additional literacy and numeracy support as funded by the government in the 2004-05 budget and results show an impressive overall improvement of between three and seven points across the three strands of reading, writing and numeracy.
This support is continuing in 2007 with indigenous literacy and numeracy consultants now working with all other literacy and numeracy staff, as well as classroom teachers, to enhance their ability to meet the needs of indigenous students. So, while advances have been made in reducing the gap between the results for indigenous and non-indigenous students, as is seen in this report, there is of course still a lot more work to be done to ensure full equality.
The commitment of the government to improve outcomes for our indigenous students continues, and the programs we have implemented focus not only on improving literacy and numeracy skills but also on the development of knowledge and pride in a rich cultural heritage. I look forward to further gains being made in 2007 and I commend the report to the Assembly.
ACT Health—accreditation by Australian Council on Healthcare Standards
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (3.58): I present the following paper: