Hundreds of Aboriginal children and their families will benefit from a new partnership between the Australian and Tasmanian Liberal Governments that will help get them ready for school.
This means giving Aboriginal children and their families access to the full range of health and education services they need to thrive and be ready for school.
Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the joint $1.4 million investment would establish two new Connected Beginnings sites in the Burnie and George Town regions, supporting more than 250 children.
“To close the gap, we need to start at the beginning and that means giving Indigenous kids the best possible start in life,’ Minister Tudge said.
“Connected Beginnings is a proven program that has been shown to lift preschool attendance rates and school readiness, as well as vaccination rates and maternal health.”
Tasmanian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Roger Jaensch said the Tasmanian Government was proud to partner with the Commonwealth to deliver the important program.
“Connected Beginnings ensures children are engaged with services such as child care, preschool, playgroups and have regular developmental health checks to ensure they are ready to start school,” Minister Jaensch said.
“Tasmania’s contribution is in addition to our existing Closing the Gap funding. Additionally, it will achieve outcomes for Tasmania’s Aboriginal children and families that are aligned with our implementation plan to Close the Gap, as well as outcomes aligned with the State’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing strategy, which has a particular focus on the first thousand days of a child’s life.”
Federal Member for Braddon Gavin Pearce said the two new sites would see even more Aboriginal children in Tasmanian supported by the important program.
“This funding will give kids in Burnie and surrounding areas who need extra assistance the best possible start in life and help them make the most of their early school years,” Mr Pearce said.
“The existing Connected Beginnings site in Hobart has already made a significant impact for kids in that area and I am pleased local kids will be able to access the same opportunities.”
Federal Member for Bass Bridget Archer said the funding would be warmly welcomed in George Town.
“As a George Town local I know that the roll-out of Connected Beginnings will be beneficial for young Indigenous children in this area as they prepare to start school,” Mrs Archer said.
Connected Beginnings has been progressively rolled out since 2016 and targets some of the most vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around Australia.
The Morrison Government is expanding the program across the country so that even more children and communities can benefit and we can continue to close the gap.
The new sites in Burnie and George Town will bring the Connected Beginnings program footprint to 24 sites nationally.
The Commonwealth is investing an additional $82 million under the Closing the Gap Implementation plan that will see the Connected Beginnings program expand up to 50 sites by 2024-25.
This will benefit an additional 8,550 children, and help up to 13,860 children in total to be safe, healthy, and ready to thrive at school by age five.