Closing the Gap in Western Sydney
Indigenous families in Western Sydney have access to important services to help them prepare their children for school, thanks to support from the Gillard Government.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today joined the Federal Member for Lindsay, David Bradbury, at the Koolyangarra Aboriginal Child and Family Centre to see how local families were benefitting from early education and family support services.
The Gillard Government has invested $650,000 over four years under the Indigenous Parenting Service program so Koolyangarra can run educational playgroups for Indigenous families.
“We want to give all children the best possible start in life so they grow up to be happy, healthy adults,” Ms Macklin said.
“We are really pleased to support Koolyangarra in delivering programs that involve parents in their child’s education right from the start, and which help Indigenous children to develop important early learning skills.”
Mr Bradbury said the Government was also providing funding for an Aboriginal Family Worker, an Aboriginal Early Childhood Worker and an Aboriginal Support Worker.
“With our support, Koolyangarra is able to work with Indigenous families in Penrith to help them develop their parenting skills and prepare their children for school,” Mr Bradbury said.
“Koolyangarra is helping to ensure Indigenous children in our community have a solid foundation to start their education, and I’m proud to support their great work.”
Ms Macklin said the Prime Minister had recently delivered the fifth annual Closing the Gap Statement to the Parliament, which measures progress towards closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in a number of areas.
“A key part of our work to close the gap is improving educational outcomes for Indigenous children, and we know that starts with early childhood education,” Ms Macklin said.
“We’re seeing some really encouraging progress, with more Indigenous children having access to pre-school or kindergarten than ever before.
“And the first Closing the Gap Target, that all Indigenous four-year-olds living in remote communities have access to early childhood education by 2013, will be met this year.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to close the gap, but our unprecedented investments are beginning to make our difference, here in Western Sydney and across the country.”
The Closing the Gap report is available at https://www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/indigenous-australians/programs-services/closing-the-gap/closing-the-gap-prime-ministers-report-2013