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Thursday, 4 February 2010
Page: 413

Mr CLARE (Parliamentary Secretary for Employment) (9:31 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2010 makes amendments to the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000.

The bill amends the table in subsection 14B(1) of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 to include additional funding for the Sporting Chance program, in order to bring it into line with the Commonwealth’s suite of targeted assistance measures and to adjust the 2010 to 2012 appropriations agreed as part of the new federal financial relations framework.

By amending the appropriations under the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 the Australian government can continue working with a range of stakeholders to develop and implement innovative measures to close the gaps.

In education, the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students is stark. Most Indigenous students meet minimum standards of reading, writing and numeracy, but not nearly as many as their non-Indigenous classmates. For example, the 2009 NAPLAN results reveal a gap of 26.4 percentage points between the reading levels of Indigenous and non-Indigenous year 5 students. When they reach year 9, NAPLAN reveals a 30-point gap between the writing levels of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

The act provides an excellent vehicle to action good ideas—ideas that deliver results. The act maintains commitments to initiatives introduced by the former government, including the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program and the Sporting Chance program. The sum of $10.93 million over three years will be used to extend the activities under the Sporting Chance program, using sport to engage Indigenous students and show the value of education.

An example of the program’s achievements can be found in the work of the Clontarf Foundation. The foundation has been the major single provider of school based sports academies for boys under the Sporting Chance program since the projects commenced operations in 2007. They consistently achieve improvements in attendance, and report significant success in attainment to year 12 in the schools in which they operate. Mid-2009 reporting indicates that average attendance of students in Clontarf academies was 76 per cent, compared with 70 per cent.

Record Australian government investment in education is geared towards giving students from all backgrounds and all locations a chance to access a good education. By focusing on programs like the Sporting Chance that are delivering better education outcomes for Indigenous students, the Australian government is actively working to close the gap. The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2010 can make an important contribution to that effort.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Coulton) adjourned.