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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

$218 million education funding boost for Indigenous youth

“The 2007-08 Federal Budget will offer thousands of young Indigenous Australians from remote communities a new start in life by providing more boarding school places and scholarships,” Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

“The Budget provides nearly $218 million in new funds over four years for Indigenous education and training mobility programmes.

“The National Indigenous Council has highlighted the importance of boarding schools and mobility measures to enable young people from remote communities to access quality education. The Australian Government has responded with a substantial funding boost,” Mr Brough said.

“As the NIC recognises, education is critical to creating opportunity and hope for young Indigenous people. I’m delighted that the Howard Government has been able to respond so positively to the NIC on this issue.

“The Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme which assists young people access quality training in major centres has been boosted by an extra 860 places to a total of 1500.

“There will also be 750 more places in the Indigenous Youth Leadership Programme in addition to 860 new places for young Indigenous students being assisted to study at schools and universities under the Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme.

“The Australian Government will provide nearly $43 million to help establish boarding hostels in regional towns with quality secondary schools. This programme is a partnership with the private sector. The construction of a new boarding hostel at Kununurra in Western Australia is expected to commence in September 2007 and to be completed by July 2008.”

A capital injection of $65 million will upgrade facilities in a number of existing boarding schools with strong track records of providing secondary schooling for Indigenous young people and provide additional places.

An additional 1000 Indigenous Access Scholarships will be provided each year to assist students enrolled in an undergraduate course at university meet costs associated with relocating from remote and rural areas.

“This is a major new investment in Indigenous youth. Education is the fundamental building block for economic independence and this package offers more opportunities for Indigenous Australians to reach their full potential,” Minister Brough said.