Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Indigenous leaders of tomorrow experience life in Government

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Mark Arbib
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development
Minister for Sport
Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness

Indigenous students from across the country have converged on Parliament House today to undertake a week of work experience with the Australian Government.

Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said the Learn. Earn. Legend! Work Experience in Government program would host 100 Indigenous secondary students.

“These students are future Indigenous leaders in their communities and Australia,” Senator Arbib said.

“This week they will be inspired by the array of career opportunities that exist within Australian politics and the public service.

“Through the Learn. Earn. Legend! initiative we are building the hopes, aspirations and opportunities for Indigenous students.”

Ms Macklin said students will learn about how Government works, get to experience life in a political office, see the Australian Government in action and watch Question Time, before spending two days in public service agencies and departments.

“It is great to have the next generation of Indigenous leaders here in Parliament House and across a range of Government departments,” Ms Macklin said.

“Throughout the week they will see of the opportunities that are available to them with a good education and a lot of hard work.

“We hope that some of these students will decide to come back to Canberra to study and work. and become the Departmental Secretaries and politicians of the future.”

Students will also get to meet a range of Learn. Earn. Legend! Ambassadors during the week including tennis legend Evonne Goolagong, co-captain of the Gold Coast Titans, Scott Prince, and Editor of the Koori Mail, Kirstie Parker.

"This program is a brilliant opportunity for Indigenous secondary school students to find out about what it’s like to work in government or the public service,” Mr Prince said.

"During this week students will be encouraged to see the opportunities available if they stay at school and work hard to get good results.”

Ms Goolagong, said the week would be a fantastic experience was also excited about the opportunities the program will deliver to students.

"It is young Indigenous Australians such as this who may decide their future is to work in Government to improve the delivery of vital services to Indigenous people and communities,” Ms Goolagong said. "This program is a strong example of the Government's commitment to attract more Indigenous people into the public service.

“Over the next twelve months I hope I can get to meet some of these students again as the Tennis Australia Learn. Earn. Legend! Ambassador.

Senator Arbib said more than 90 parliamentarians would host the students in their offices this week.

“I have been overwhelmed by the support for this program from all sides of politics, and very impressed with the calibre and enthusiasm of these young people,” Senator Arbib said.

Learn. Earn. Legend!aims to encourage young Indigenous people to stay in school and training so they can gain great jobs and careers, and is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to closing the gap on education and employment outcomes.”

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has partnered with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, Dare to Lead, Stronger Smarter Learning Communities and The Sporting Chance Program to deliver the program.

The program, funded through the Indigenous Employment Program, is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to increasing Indigenous employment within the Commonwealth Public Sector to 2.7 per cent by 2015.

“Indigenous employment is not a short term issue. Over the next four years the Government has also committed almost $650 million to the Indigenous Employment Program,” Senator Arbib said.