New support for Indigenous families in Alice Springs
Indigenous parents, children and the elderly living in Alice Springs will benefit from a $1.73 million package of family and social measures announced today as part of the Australian and Northern Territory Governments’ Alice Springs Transformation Plan.
The package includes funding to four programs that support parents, target early education, encourage children to attend school and boost services for the elderly.
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, visited Yipirinya School in Alice Springs today to announce the funding.
Yipirinya is one of two Alice Springs schools that will run the $750,000 Families and Schools Together (FAST) program, which offers support for Indigenous parents.
Ms Macklin said the program would also help strengthen the relationship between Indigenous families and schools – an important part of improving children’s education. Coaching is provided to parents in play-based learning with their children and with a particular emphasis on engaging fathers.
“We know from our recent Stronger Futures consultations that one of the top priorities for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory is getting a good education for their kids. They want to be able to take responsibility themselves and turn issues around,” Ms Macklin said.
“The FAST program works with the extended family and helps them deal with issues that can impact on school attendance such as alcohol, drug abuse and violence within the home.
“The eight week course offers a comprehensive and flexible approach that brings families together to talk about their problems and find ways to deal effectively with them,” Ms Macklin said.
The FAST program will run for two years through the Gillen and Yipirinya schools and support families from three town camps.
The Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton, said today’s announcement includes other initiatives to support children’s education.
“Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Little Children’s Learning Centre will be provided with $160,000 to boost a program that has run since 2002 and assists children from town camps to transition into mainstream schooling”, Mr Hampton said.
“This extra funding will enable the Learning Centre to employ a qualified teacher, Indigenous education support worker and provide a bus service to better support children to learn and adjust to a new school and get the most out of their schooling experience.
“I am delighted further funding of $50,000 will go to the YMCA School Retention Program to provide incentives through passes to the new Alice Springs Aquatic Centre and the Kilgariff Centre to reward school children who maintain a high attendance rate at school”.
“Rewarding kids who regularly attend school sends a strong message of the importance this community places on education.”
The Indigenous Health Minister and Federal Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon said Tangentyere Council’s aged care facilities will benefit from a $771,908 upgrade to its existing kitchen, laundry and shower facilities as part of this package.
“This funding recognises how important it is to support elderly residents of the Alice Springs town camps,” Mr Snowdon said.
“It will improve and expand the laundry and meals-on-wheels programs that help elders to continue living with their families in their community.”
The $150 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan is a joint initiative of the Australian and Northern Territory Governments to improve the lives of Aboriginal residents and visitors to Alice Springs.