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Education the key to a prosperous future.

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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science Federal Member for Jagajaga


A Smith Family report released today highlights the importance of a good education in overcoming disadvantages caused by income, background or location.

The report, Barriers to Participation: Financial, Educational and Technological, has found that what happens at home is critically important to how a young person fares at school.

Students from low-income families, those whose parents have not completed school or undertaken tertiary education, and those with little or no access to computers and the internet at home, were found to be at a disadvantage at school.

But Deputy Labor leader Jenny Macklin said an equally important finding was that, with the right support, young people can overcome such disadvantages and achieve great success at school, in training and at university.

“Australia’s future prosperity depends on the skills, knowledge and talents of our young people, but every year tens of thousands are dropping out of school, are denied the opportunity for high-level training, or are being locked out of university because of a lack of adequate Federal Government funding,” she said.

Ms Macklin said more than one in four students who start school drop out, and early school leavers are three times more likely to be unemployed than those who finish Year 12.

“Australia simply cannot afford to let thousands of young people drop out of school and training each year. We cannot allow so much talent and potential go to waste,” she said.

Since 1992 the Year 12 retention rate has dropped from 77 per cent to 73.4 per cent, while youth unemployment has reached 23 per cent, and is almost 40 per cent in some areas, such as the mid north coast of New South Wales and the north-west Moreton area in Queensland.

“The Howard Government is failing Australia’s young people. More than 500,000 people 25 years or younger have been left to languish without adequate education, training or full-time work,” Ms Macklin said.

A future Labor Government would strive to have all children either complete Year 12 or undertake vocational training.

More information: Adrian Rollins, 0438 950 375