Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Agreement to assist at risk Indigenous kids in Shoalhaven area

Minister for Community Services, Senator Nigel Scullion, today announced that the Australian Government has signed a Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) with the Shoalhaven Indigenous community and the NSW Police in Nowra to help at-risk Indigenous kids in the Shoalhaven region.

‘This SRA has come about as result of grass-roots community consultation and involvement,’ Senator Scullion said. ‘The SRA has the support of the Shoalhaven Safer Community Aboriginal Partnership, the Nowra Police, and the Queanbeyan Indigenous Coordination Centre representing the Australian Government.’

He said the SRA, called the Nimbal Program for Children and Youth at Risk, would involve young people aged from 10 to 17 who were at risk of dropping out of school and becoming involved in anti-social activities.

‘Police and Indigenous elders will work together in the Nimbal program providing camps, group activities and an adult mentor to encourage regular school attendance, work or other training opportunities,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘Two group programs will be run each year, each involving about 10 children. Parents of children will attend pre-program meetings, participate in ongoing evaluation of the program, and sign individual agreements stating they will encourage their children’s attendance in the program.’

Senator Scullion said the Nimbal program was much needed in the Shoalhaven local government area as it has the highest concentration of Indigenous people within the Illawarra-South East region of NSW. In that Indigenous population more than half are under 20 years old and 40 per cent are less than 15 years old.

The Nimbal program will run for two and a half years with $55,000 in funding provided by the Australian Government. The program will be evaluated on an ongoing basis by the Indigenous community and the Government.

‘I look forward to hearing of the success stories of those young Indigenous people involved in the Nimbal program and how they have progressed in the coming years,’ Senator Scullion said.