Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting Indigenous students in Far North Queensland

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Minister Human Services and Senator for Queensland, Jan McLucas have congratulated AFL Cape York House on their official opening in Cairns today.

The Australian Labor Government invested $5.55 million through the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing towards the construction of AFL Cape York House which is providing young people a place to live and learn in Cairns while they complete secondary schooling.

“I’m delighted that the Gillard Government has invested in this new facility which provides Indigenous students in Far North Queensland with a place to live and learn while they complete secondary schooling,” Ms Macklin said.

“AFL Cape York House is making an enormous difference for young people from the remote Indigenous communities of Cape York Peninsula, Torres Strait and the Gulf regions.

“With the help of an education manager, careers manager and welfare support manager, students are able to develop their life skills, find employment opportunities and further their education.”

Speaking at the official opening in Cairns, Minister McLucas said AFL Cape York House provides crucial support to up to 48 students from Year 8 to12.

“AFL Cape York House gives Indigenous students safe accommodation while they live away from home to further their education, providing them with the best possible chance of getting a job and having a career,” Senator McLucas said.

“This facility not only gives students a place to sleep and eat, but it also engages them before and after school.

“Students attend partner schools and colleges in Cairns and have the opportunity to be involved in many out-of-school experiences, including sports, cultural pursuits, work and training.

“It aims to improve educational outcomes and life opportunities in a safe, culturally appropriate and secure environment.

“I am pleased to see that since it opened in January, 31 students are enrolled, with terrific results being seen.

“A number of the senior students have completed their resumes and have started the search for part-time work.

“Thank you and congratulations to the AFL, Education Queensland, Aboriginal Hostels Limited and the Western Cape Communities Trust for their support of this project.”