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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Support for young people in Wadeye

The Wadeye region’s new Intensive Support Playgroup will now be mobilised thanks to $130,000 Howard Government funding for a four-wheel drive and trailer.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson today announced the funding and presented the Thamarrurr Council with the vehicle.

“The playgroup provides local Indigenous families including those families living away from town access to early learning opportunities for their children,” Senator Patterson said.

“The use of the four-wheel drive will mobilise the program, and will give families the opportunity to access early childhood development services wherever they live in the Wadeye region.

“One of the aims of the playgroup is to help Indigenous children make the transition to school by reducing the stress of going to an unfamiliar cultural environment without adequate preparation.”

Senator Patterson also visited the local swimming pool where the Howard Government funded project, Good Beginnings will involve local families in a three day swimming workshop with Shane Gould, ex Olympic Swimmer and Milt Nelms, International Swimming Coach.

“I am absolutely thrilled with the response from the community to their pool, particularly the responsible way they have implemented the no school no pool policy. This has led to record numbers of children attending school this year.

“The skills and training given during this workshop will enable locals to develop a community outreach program to better use the swimming pool.

Senator Patterson today also announced $48,000 in funding to enable the youth of Wadeye to attend culture camps, with two being held each month over the next 10 months.

“These camps have support from the local community, and aim to develop cultural knowledge, but with added input from the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, will also focus on team building, leadership and skills.

“The Howard Government recognises isolated families need support in accessing services and this funding will assist children of all ages to be ready for future learning.

As part of her visit to the region, Senator Patterson also signed a Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) with the Thamarrurr Council.

“The Australian Government will provide $50,000 under this SRA to hold a series of workshops (using a qualified interpreter) to help to raise community awareness of education and enable the community to choose a suitable model to establish their own education board/council. The education board/council will guide community planning for future education needs.”