Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$10 million to expand the Sporting Chance Program

Joint Media Release with:

  • Julia Gillard MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for Social Inclusion

The Rudd Government will invest a further $10 million over four years to support the expansion of the Sporting Chance Program to improve the education, life skills and employment prospects of some 1400 Indigenous students across Australia.

As part of our commitment to Closing the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, the Government will contribute:

  • $5 million to establish ten new school-based sports academies across Australia, with a particular focus on improving the participation and engagement of girls in schooling
  • $5 million to the Former Origin Greats (FOGS) to establish school-based academies with a focus on rugby league in Queensland and New South Wales.

These commitments are in addition to the $22 million in ongoing funding to support existing providers under the Sporting Chance Program over the next four years. In December 2008, the Government committed a further $10 million over 2009-12 to support some 1200 students in Western Australia and the Northern Territory through football academies operated by the Clontarf Foundation and managed through the Sporting Chance Program.

The Sporting Chance Program uses sport and recreation as the vehicle to improve student participation and engagement in schooling and is implemented in collaboration with funding partners including state and territory governments and corporate Australia through which it receives ongoing support.

This expansion builds on the success of the school-based academies implemented under the Sporting Chance Program since 2007. In 2009, a total of 37 academies involving some 3000 students will be delivered across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The $10 million expansion will extend the academies reach to around 4400 students – a 47 per cent increase in participants – and will build on the growing demand from Indigenous students at risk of not successfully completing their schooling as well as demand from their families and communities.

The Sporting Chance Program has experienced significant success, having a direct impact on the Closing the Gap target of Year 12 attainment, as a consequence of the improved school attendance and engagement by participating students.

The academies also actively engage with communities, resulting in a significant increase in parental and community involvement in schools to which academies are attached, enhancing productive school-community partnerships.