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Thursday, 21 February 2008
Page: 1146

Mr HAASE (1:57 PM) —I realise that time is extremely limited. I rise to support the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008. But, in supporting the bill, I wish to make a number of comments in relation to the motivation behind this initiative. Of course, it is a glorious initiative that we are all interested in and concerned with—that is, the improvement of the educational outcomes for populations of Indigenous communities. We need to close the gap that exists today between the educational standards of Indigenous children when they leave school, often at too early an age, and mainstream achievements in education. We value education as a part of our culture. The problem that exists and the justification for this particular initiative is that there is a huge gap. We justify our interest on the basis of value for education. But what I cannot say is that this value for education is shared across all sectors of the community.

So long as the education of Indigenous people is not appreciated by Indigenous parents, that gap will continue to exist. So we need, in the long term, to address this discrepancy. We need to engender in Aboriginal parents in remote communities a value of education and the outcomes that can be achieved with that education. Too often, parents in remote communities today do not value education because they see no worth for it. They see that it is a diversion for their children whilst they are within the community. They do not see children leaving education institutions and gaining jobs. They see them in the main today going onto CDEP. They do not value CDEP either because it is simply a substitute for other forms of welfare. There is no motivation for these children to go and get a job because there is very little experience of persons with employment within the communities. Too many times I go to remote communities, ask children that are doing secondary courses what they aspire to do with their lives and they tell me they are going to be just like dad and get on the CDEP.

The SPEAKER —Order! It being 2 pm, the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 97. The debate may be resumed at a later hour. The member for Kalgoorlie will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.