Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Sporting chance expansion

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Kevin MP, Prime Minister
    The Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Sport

About 10,000 students will benefit from an expansion of the Australian Government’s Sporting Chance Program to support Indigenous students’ engagement with school.

Sporting Chance Program uses sport and recreation as a hook to better engage Indigenous boys and girls in their schooling to improve educational and employment outcomes.

There were 42 Sporting Chance projects in 2009 – 37 school-based sports academies and five engagement strategies, supporting about 9,000 students.

In 2010 an additional 17 sports academies will commence across Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria, supporting about 1,000 students, which will bring the total supported under program to some 10,000.

Ten of these new academies will be for girls and are funded as part of the $10 million expansion jointly announced by the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, in the 2009-10 Budget.

The academies will operate in Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Bunbury and North Albany, in Western Australia; West Arnhem, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory; Mooroopna, Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria; and Townsville in Queensland.

Seven new academies are funded under a $10 million expansion of the Clontarf Foundation announced in December 2008. The Foundation will operate its football academies in Jabiru and Gunbalanya in the Northern Territory; and in Bairnsdale, Warrnambool, Swan Hill, Robinvale and Mildura in Victoria.

The Sporting Chance Program is delivering strong results for Indigenous students, particularly in remote and rural areas. Attendance rates are starting to climb and are, on average, better than attendance rates for Indigenous students not involved in the program.

Data collected from projects in 2009 indicates that the average attendance rate for academy students was 79 per cent. The average rate for all Indigenous students in the schools the projects were in was 73 per cent.

More than half of the academy students were reported by the schools to be improving their school performance and many were also reported to have made significant gains in their self-esteem and behaviour.