The Rudd Government has committed $1 billion since the last Budget specifically to close the gap in educational attainment and employment participation of Indigenous Australians.
This brings total new and existing funding across all Indigenous education programs to around $2.1 billion over the four school years from 2009.
This funding consolidates programs within the new Commonwealth-State financial framework and delivers additional resources, flexibility and funding certainty to help close the education attainment gap for Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous Employment Program$778.8 million will be allocated over five years for the reformed Indigenous Employment Program (IEP). This will make employment and training services more responsive to the specific needs of Indigenous job seekers, Indigenous businesses and employers. This includes an additional $190.6 million in new funding in the 2009-10 Budget.
English Language and Literacy ProgramTo complement reforms to IEP, the Workplace English Language and Literacy Program will be funded $21.6 million over four years.
Sporting ChanceIn the 2009-10 Budget, new funding of $10.0 million will be allocated over four years to expand the Sporting Chance program to encourage school engagement and positive educational outcomes for Indigenous students. The funding will enable the establishment of around 10 new school-based sports academies across Australia with a particular emphasis on improving the participation and engagement of girls in education. Funds will also be provided to the Former Origin Greats to establish school-based sports academies with a focus on rugby league.
This is in addition to the $10.0 million over four years provided to the Clontarf Foundation to expand their AFL focused school-based academies in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
It also complements the $20.0 million over three years, to support a 20 year scholarship program in partnership with the corporate sector which will provide scholarships to Indigenous secondary school students.
Northern Territory Emergency Response MeasuresSchool Nutrition ProgramAs part of the ongoing effort to close the gap in the Northern Territory, the Government will commit $37.5 million over three years for the continuation of the School Nutrition Program which delivers breakfast and lunch to school aged children.
Enhancing Education ElementsThe Enhancing Education Elements initiative in the Northern Territory will be allocated $45.7 million over three years. This measure will provide an additional $23.0 million for the Quality Teaching Package and $22.7 million for the Accelerated Literacy initiative.
Teacher Accommodation $11.2 million over one year will be invested to address the urgent need for teacher accommodation in the Northern Territory to address housing shortages and to increase teacher employment and retention rates.
This funding is in addition to $5.0 million announced on 22 October 2008 for up to 10 additional teacher houses in the Wadeye community. It also complements funding of $7.0 million provided for 15 additional classrooms in schools servicing remote communities in the Northern Territory through the Government’s $14.7 billion Building the Education Revolution initiative, which was announced in theUpdated Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
Crèches in remote communities$9.1 million over three years will be allocated to provide operational funding for eight existing crèches, the creation of a ninth crèche and the upgrading of two more crèches. These new crèches are in remote communities in the Northern Territory that previously had little or no access to early childhood programs for children under five years of age. Language Literacy and Numeracy Program for job-seekersThe Language Literacy and Numeracy Program will be allocated $3.0 million over three years for additional training places for job seekers in the Northern Territory wanting to improve basic skills. The Government is committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians’ life chances and life outcomes by ensuring that all Australians can participate fully in education, employment and community life.
These are important, practical steps which will develop the opportunities and build the capacity needed for Indigenous educational outcomes and economic participation to improve over the coming years.