Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Opportunity for Indigenous Youth in Orange

Minster for Community Services, Senator Nigel Scullion today welcomed the signing of an agreement to mentor young Indigenous youth in Orange in an effort to reduce crime and disconnection within the community.

The Better Pathways Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) between the Orange Indigenous communities, local, state and federal governments and community groups offers Indigenous youth the opportunity to realise their full potential and make positive life choices.

‘I’m pleased the Australian Government has contributed $313,530 towards the SRA. All governments will work together to support the Orange community in its efforts to strengthen the ties between at-risk Indigenous youth and the community,’ Senator Scullion said.

Better Pathways is about engaging Indigenous youth by introducing them to supportive role models and positive activities.

‘The agreement aims to reduce juvenile crime, increase school attendance, and improve community engagement and cohesion among Indigenous people aged 9 to 15 years.

‘Approximately 48 at-risk Indigenous young people will be nominated to attend 10-day ‘time out camps’, where they will be introduced to local Indigenous leaders to help them understand the consequences of negative behaviour.

‘Under this SRA, at-risk Indigenous youth will receive compulsory and individually tailored mentoring to re-engage them with the local community,’ he said.

Negotiations for the agreement began in 2004 between the Wagga Wagga Indigenous Coordination Centre, the Orange Indigenous community and the Orange City Council.

‘Since then a range of Australian Government Departments, the Orange Women’s Group, the Orange Community Working Party, the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service and the local Birrang Enterprise Development Company have come together to address these community concerns with practical local solutions,’ he said.

‘I look forward to hearing the many positive stories about Indigenous youth in Orange stemming from the activities funded by this SRA,’ Senator Scullion said.