Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) II Bill 2013

I rise in continuation of my speech on the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2013. The additional funding provided to ARTIE will allow for the implementation of the program in three primary schools in South East Queensland and for the expansion of the academy into two Townsville high schools at Kirwan and Pimlico.

Members of the House will be aware of my passion for education. In my maiden speech, and repeatedly since then, I have spoken of my own life being testimony to the truth that education is the great transformer. Education allowed me to escape the cycle of disadvantage, and I understand and appreciate its importance completely. That is why I so strongly support this government's education reforms, particularly in the area of Indigenous education. The Labor government are determined to close the gap between the education results of Indigenous and nonIndigenous students and we are focused on investing in programs we know can lift results.

We are delivering an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan in cooperation with the states, territories and non-government schools. We have invested $128 million to help boost school attendance, literacy and numeracy skills, strengthen the education workforce and provide extra resources to schools that are in most need of help through the education plan.

We will achieve the Closing the Gap target of ensuring all Indigenous four-year-olds in remote communities have access to early childhood education. We are also building 38 children and family centres as part of the National Partnership Agreement for Indigenous Early Childhood Development.

Under our National Plan for School Improvement, every Indigenous student in the country will be entitled to guaranteed extra funding, no matter what school they attend. This means an estimated total of $5.5 billion in public funding across Australia, which will be directed to specifically support the almost 200,000 Indigenous students in about 8,000 schools. In the ACT, this will mean $40 million in new funding for Indigenous students in Canberra, benefiting around 1,400 students in 117 schools.

This bill reaffirms Labor's commitment to improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, families and communities. By funding targeted programs that are designed to complement and support mainstream schooling, this bill will achieve so much. I commend the bill to the House.

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