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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7686


Ms BURNEY (Barton) (10:52): I acknowledge the member for Rankin and the member for Herbert for bringing this motion into the House and for seconding it. I know AIME very well. We're not allowed to have props in the House, but I have brought the sweatshirt that representatives from AIME gave me the last time they were here. I just can't hold it up, but they're wearing it in the gallery today. That's fantastic.

I also recognise the wonderful work that the AIME mentors and the people who work at AIME do. In particular I want to recognise their CEO and founder, Jack Manning Bancroft, who has just been the most incredible inspiration for all of us. He was one of the youngest CEOs ever at the age of 19 when AIME was founded in 2005. He was also New South Wales Young Australian of the Year last year or the year before. There has been an Australian Story program called 'Turning the Tables' made about Jack—in many ways an inspiration for this amazing program.

We all know what intergenerational disruption can do to one's life, but AIME—and I have seen it in action, I have spoken at some of its courses and I have seen the amazing students who put their hands up to be mentors and the young school students who are being mentored—is very much a practical, sensible way to make sure that young Indigenous students get the same sorts of outcomes in education as everyone else and see university as part of their life course and life journey, which of course was not the case a generation ago.

I cannot tell you how important AIME is in closing the gap. It really is about providing the resources and capacity to empower First Nations Australians. We know that one of the clear messages coming out of the discussions about reconciliation and Indigenous recognition is that First Nations Australians need to be more involved in the formulation of the laws and policies which affect First Nations people. And that is the power of AIME: it's self-determination in action. It's people who feel that they want to provide or give back, and that's also what AIME allows them to do.

There are so many people who really want to be part of the Indigenous story in this country in a really positive way, and AIME provides the mechanism for that to happen. As I said, it also makes sure that young Indigenous students see university as a normal part of life and see it as something that's achievable. It demystifies university and makes it a reality for so many young people.

I don't want to add very much more to what has been said. I think that when you look at mentoring and the power of mentoring, we have all, in one way or another, either had formal or informal mentors—every single one of us. That has made such a difference to our lives, and it makes such a difference to the lives of the young people who we mentor.

Education is the key to unlocking disadvantage. Education is the key to providing a life of choice and chances, and that is the power of AIME. I just want to thank them and put on record, along with my colleagues on both sides of the House, just how extraordinary they are and how important they are to the future generations of young Indigenous people in this country.