Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Children’s program for desert communities

Federal Minister for Community Services, Larry Anthony, today announced more than $460,000 would be spent developing innovative children and family services for Aboriginal communities in the desert regions of Central Australia.

“The Aboriginal Child Rearing Strategy is the first early childhood program of its kind actively involving Aboriginal parents,” Mr Anthony said.

“The program will be developed to incorporate the unique culture, parenting and learning styles of Aboriginal people.”

In the first stage of the project Aboriginal women from more than 30 different remote communities will attend a conference to discuss issues which impact on the care of their children.

“The three day conference will provide a greater understanding of what Aboriginal parents consider to be the best childhood environment for their children,” Mr Anthony said.

Topics such as health and nutrition, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parenting styles and Aboriginal culture will be examined.

The year-long strategy will also involve two project workers spending the twelve months at two different remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia.

The officer will work closely with the existing children’s service located in each community and learn about traditional Aboriginal family practices, then recommend practical ways to help design effective programs.
“It is exciting that this early childhood program will be designed in partnership with remote Aboriginal communities to meet the specific needs of families,” Mr Anthony said.

The Department of Family and Community Services offices in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory will fund the strategy.

“This strategy is a leading example of the way the Government intends to involve communities in the development of specific services that will meet their needs,” Mr Anthony said.