Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Kickstart for Indigenous kids

Ministers:

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Early Childhood, Childcare and Youth
Minister for Employment Participation

A program that has proved highly effective in helping parents across 50 Australian communities to become their child’s first teachers will focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in its next roll-out.

Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis and Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin today announced that the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters is on track to double its coverage within two years.

In addition, the next 25 locations have been selected to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families from next year.

“This is a smart and effective program that has made inroads in helping parents improve their child’s readiness for school,” Ms Ellis said.

“The evidence is clear that the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters works which is why we have invested in its expansion.

“All children deserve the best possible start to their education, and the expansion of the program means more families will receive help to make this possible.”

Ms Macklin said that expanding the program to focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families complemented the Labor Government’s unprecedented efforts to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

“Our efforts to close the gap have seen more Indigenous children than ever before with access to preschool or kindergarten programs,” Ms Macklin said.

“This program will help young Indigenous Australians to get a better start to life and ensure that they are ready to learn when they get to school.

“Our investments are paying off and we will meet the first Closing the Gap target that all Indigenous four-year-olds living in remote communities have access to early childhood education this year.”

Ms Ellis said that since the program started helping the first 22 communities back in 2009, around 4,000 children have been covered by the program in four years and once fully rolled out, more than 2,000 children each year will benefit.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence delivers the program and conducted extensive consultations to select 25 new sites that will commence early next year.

The program gives parents the confidence and skills to contribute to their child’s learning environment. Parents and their children enrol in the program in the year before the child starts school and participate for two years. Together, families work through daily activities using role play and storybooks designed to develop and support pre literacy and pre numeracy skills.

The Government has committed a further $55.7 million to expand the program to an additional 50 sites. The program will commence in 25 new communities in early 2014 from Palm Island in Queensland to East Kimberley in WA, down to Mildura in Victoria and Riverland in South Australia. A further 25 locations will be selected in 2014 to commence in early 2015.

For more information about HIPPY including the extra communities, visit: http://deewr.gov.au/home-interaction-program-parents-and-youngsters-hippy

New South Wales
Albury/Wodonga
Armidale
Broken Hill
Moree
Orange
Raymond Terrace/Port Stephens
Wellington
Willmot/Shalvey/Emerton/Hebersham

Queensland
Bundaberg
Burdekin
Hervey Bay
Palm Island
Toowoomba
Upper Ross
Warwick

South Australia
Riverland
Murray Bridge
City of Onkaparinga (Aldinga Beach/Christie Downs/Morphett Vale/Hackham West/
Huntfield Heights/Noarlunga Downs)

Victoria
East Gippsland
La Trobe Gippsland
Mildura

Western Australia
City of Armadale
City of Gosnells
East Kimberley

Northern Territory
Palmerston