Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Early childhood education target to be achieved in 2013

Ministers:

The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister
The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

There are now more Indigenous children than ever before with access to preschool or kindergarten programs as a result of the Gillard Government’s unprecedented efforts to Close the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
 
The Closing the Gap target that all Indigenous four-year-olds living in remote communities have access to early childhood education by 2013 will be met this year.
 
This means young Indigenous Australians are getting a better start to life and are ready to learn when they get to school.
 
Achieving this target is an important first step towards closing the gap in educational attainment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
 
The Gillard Government is now working to ensure this improved access to early education also leads to improved school attendance, so children continue to build on the great start that a preschool or kindergarten program provides.
 
The Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2013 tabled in Parliament today also shows strong progress being made towards the target of halving the gap for Year 12 attainment.
 
The target of halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018 is also on track to be met.
 
The Australian Government committed to the Closing the Gap targets because we knew that previous haphazard approaches to ending Indigenous disadvantage had not been good enough.
 
The Closing the Gap targets commit all governments to an overarching framework and hold them accountable to specific targets. This, together with our unprecedented investment, is beginning to make a difference, but the Government recognises that this work will take time and continued effort.
 
Government cannot close the gap alone. Closing the Gap requires a genuine partnership with Indigenous Australians at all levels and the Government is committed to a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
 
The Closing the Gap report is available at www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/indigenous-australians/programs-services/closing-the-gap/closing-the-gap-prime-ministers-report-2013.