Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New accommodation for Indigenous students from the APY Lands

Joint Media Release with:

  • Hon Grace Portolesi MP, SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

The Australian Government has delivered a $3 million accommodation centre for Indigenous students from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands who study in Adelaide.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the South Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Grace Portolesi, today opened the Wiltja accommodation centre which will provide accommodation for up to 105 Indigenous students from the APY Lands.

This is huge boost to the school, providing an extra 45 places for Indigenous students. Prior to this additional funding, only 60 students were able to stay and study through the Wiltja Residential Program.

Wiltja offers secondary education from years eight to twelve to students normally attending remote community schools in the APY Lands, Yalata and Oak Valley.

Wiltja students are enrolled at nearby schools such as Woodville High School, wear the uniform and attend both mainstream and Wiltja classes. Students board at the Wiltja accomodation centre where they also participate in a comprehensive recreation program.

With the help of teachers, youth workers and recreation coordinators, students are able to develop their skills and abilities in a variety of subjects, including literacy and numeracy, sport and physical education, music, arts and information technology.

The new centre will give 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.

School attendance is high with students excelling both academically and socially. Since 1998, 44 students have completed their Year 12 certificate at the Wiltja Residential Program.

Some past students are currently at university or TAFE studying music, business and childcare, while others are undertaking traineeships as mechanics, builder and in the health sector.

The Australian Government is working together with the South Australian Government and communities across the APY Lands to deliver better outcomes for Indigenous people.

The Wiltja Residential Program is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to providing quality education opportunities for Indigenous students, and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students’ education outcomes.

Funding for the expanded Wiltja Residential Program accommodation centre was provided as part of the Protecting Children on the APY Lands response to the Mullighan Inquiry in 2008.