Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting Indigenous kids in Alice Springs to go to school

Joint Media Release with:

  • Karl Hampton MLA, NT Minister for Central Australia and
    Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari

More than 300 young Indigenous children living in Alice Springs will undergo health checks with the help of almost $1.5 million in funding from the Australian and Northern Territory Governments.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress will receive the funding over the next three years to deliver the Ready and Willing for School Program.

As part of the $150 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan, the program will provide a health check for three and four year old Indigenous children and an assessment of family needs to ensure children are ready to attend school.

We are determined to work with families and the community in the Alice Springs town camps to improve their lives.

This program will help kids in those early years get back on track, and give them the best chance at a happy life, where they can learn and grow into healthy, confident adults.

The program will provide health checks for Indigenous children at age three, and again at age four, to ensure those who have learning or behavioural problems, or families with high needs, receive tailored care.

Once a child has undergone a health check, a range of services will be available to assist them including behavioural classes, family therapy, and counselling.

Under the program, a multidisciplinary team of four specialists will be employed to support families in Alice Springs, including an Indigenous family support worker, a child health nurse, a social worker and a child psychologist.

The team will identify children with emotional, behavioural, cognitive and other difficulties and recommend practical support and other assistance to improve their health and family relationships.

Children will also receive the support they need to assist in their development to be ready for school.

In December 2009, the Australian and Northern Territory Governments started rolling out a comprehensive plan to transform the Alice Springs town camps and provide intensive support services to the residents. Progress is being made:

  • An extensive clean up of 18 town camps, and a comprehensive fix and make safe program;
  • Work has started on the construction of new houses and the refurbishment program is underway. The Transformation Plan will deliver 85 new houses across the town camps;
  • Construction has begun on the $11 million Alice Springs Accommodation project, which will provide short-term accommodation for Indigenous people who visit the town;
  • Wheelie bins have been delivered to the town camps, with Alice Springs Town Council undertaking weekly rubbish collection.