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Rural Tasmania: nation's fastest growing high school retention.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Rural Tasmania - nation's fastest growing high school retention

17 April 2008 DAFF08/041B

Rural Tasmania has produced Australia’s most improved high school retention rates, according to a new economic and social analysis of rural and regional areas.

Between 2001 and 2006, the increase in the number of 16-year-olds staying at school in rural Tasmania was the nation’s highest: up by 10.9 per cent, while the national average fell by 1.8 per cent.

The statistics are revealed in the 2008 Country Matters: Social Atlas of Rural and Regional Australia, released today by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke.

The Atlas shows that areas with a high percentage of retention of 16-year-olds in school also included Victoria, south-west Western Australia, south-east Queensland and eastern NSW.

Tasmanian towns Latrobe and George Town have 100 per cent retention rates for 16-year-olds in full-time education.

Across Australia, the average school retention rate of 16-year-olds is 81.7 per cent.

“Young people are the future of our rural communities, so I welcome these encouraging trends,” Mr Burke said.

“I know from my discussions with young people from rural and regional Australia, many are keen to gain new training and skills and contribute to their local rural industries.”

The Atlas also shows that the largest increase in the proportion of young people living in rural areas occurred in Tasmania.

The Atlas describes the economic and social trends affecting the 7.5 million people living outside of Australia’s capital cities, drawing primarily on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2006, 2001 and 1996 Population Census.

The Atlas is developed by the Bureau of Rural Sciences, within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

To use the Atlas online visit

(The Atlas defines regional centres as 1000 to 100,000 people, small towns as 200 to 1000 people, and rural areas as fewer than 200 people.)