The Minister for Education today announced that more Indigenous communities will have the opportunity to participate in community festivals in 2008.
The Australian Government provides $3.05 million annually under the Community Festivals for Education Engagement program to support targeted events that encourage school attendance, retention and healthy lifestyles for all young Australians, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Following a competitive selection process five organisations have signed funding agreements to provide 15 festivals under the program this year. This is eight more festivals than last year.
The successful organisations are:
- Music Outback Foundation with festivals in the NT at Laramba, Tanami and Alice Springs;
- Broome Aboriginal Media Association with a festival in WA in Broome;
- Wakakirri Limited with festivals in the NT and QLD at Yuendumu, Bloomfield and Cunnamulla;
- TAFE NSW North Coast Institute in New South Wales at Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Taree; and
- Vibe Australia in NSW, QLD, WA, SA and Victoria with festivals in Coonamble, Rockhampton, Kalgoorlie, Port Augusta and Mildura.
The festivals will promote contemporary and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, with activities including access to role models, and workshops focusing on literacy, numeracy, confidence building, teamwork, sustainability and tolerance. There will also be information and advice on health and well being, careers and educational opportunities.
To encourage students to attend school, the events promote a minimum school attendance rate of 85 per cent.
The Rudd Government is committed to setting practical targets and to act on them urgently to close the gaps in educational achievement, employment opportunities and life expectancy, faced by Indigenous Australians.