A new hostel for 40 young Indigenous people opened today in Kununurra, Western Australia to help more students to complete their secondary education.
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said the Kununurra Secondary Education hostel will provide the next generation of Indigenous leaders with greater access to education, employment and health services.
Ms Gillard was at the new hostel for the opening to meet with hostel staff, students and parents.
The Australian Government provided $11.7 million to Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL) to build the 54 bed hostel, which will house 40 students, eight staff and six beds for parents visiting.
The hostel also has tutorial rooms and recreation facilities to help encourage residents to develop healthy eating independent living skills.
AHL currently helps over 500 secondary students across Australia complete their secondary education and encourages a strict adherence to school attendance.
Sixteen secondary education and training hostels and eight tertiary education and training hostels are funded or operated by AHL.
Ms Gillard said she was pleased to see that some of the students who have come through AHL have gone on to become doctors and allied health professionals.
A number of former students from AHL secondary education hostels have also taken on a role as mentors to subsequent generations of students.
The Australian Government is working to reduce Indigenous disadvantage, including halving the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for Indigenous children within a decade. It also aims to halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates by 2020.