Page 1250 - Week 04 - Thursday, 21 March 2013

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MS BURCH: We put a lot of effort in. We have closing the gap education matters, the report I think you made reference to in the February sitting. You asked a number of questions on that. We know we do have to put additional support into supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and we do that.

We have an aspirations program that operates across our schools from year 5 through to year 12. That has quite a targeted wrap-around support service for Aboriginal students so that they do indeed reach their aspirations. They work with families, so they may need to put in some family support, additional tutoring support and mentoring. Whatever we need to do, we do.

We also know that we need to transition from school into the workforce. A number of Aboriginal kids are studying through vocational training at CIT as well, and that is another good program. They may choose a vocational path from year 10 as opposed to going through a college system in year 12, and we support them in that.

MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what additional resources are provided by the ACT government to support the 42.7 per cent of Indigenous students who attend non-government schools?

MS BURCH: We put a lot of effort into supporting all our students through a targeted response to non-government schools. I think it reflects well on the number of Aboriginal students that are attaining year 10 and year 12 and it is reflected in vocational training and other training. In government schools we have quite a discrete suite of programs. Certainly our education officers and our aspirations program are quite targeted to government schools. But that is not to say, through our targeted support through schools at need rather than just blanket support to all schools, that those students are not supported.

MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what is the budget allocated specifically to the Indigenous students who attend non-government schools?

MS BURCH: Well, I do not have that in front of me, and I do not know if we would be able to unpack the number at budget specifically per Aboriginal student or, indeed whatever cohort of students that you wanted in the non-government schools. But when I move about and talk to non-government schools and government schools alike, today, as with all days, there is a recognition of our closing the gap. Today is National Close the Gap Day, so it is probably relevant that we all pay attention to doing all that we can.

I had the great privilege of being at CIT yesterday with Mick Gooda and with Tom Calma and signing the commitment to do all we can to close the gap. I would hope that those opposite also take that opportunity.

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