Joint Media Release with Member for Solomon Natasha Griggs MP
Funding to increase school attendance in Darwin and Palmerston are among 34 projects supported by more than $14.8 million from the Aboriginals Benefit Account.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and Member for Solomon Natasha Griggs, announced funding of $184,052 from the Aboriginals Benefit Account for Save the Children’s NT School Attendance Program, which improves school attendance among children from six urban Aboriginal communities around Darwin and Palmerston – Knuckey Lagoon, Minmarama Park, Kulaluk, One-Mile, Palmerston Indigenous Village and Bagot.
Minister Scullion said the projects to be supported under this round of Aboriginals Benefit Account funding cover a wide range of activities and will benefit Aboriginal people at the grassroots level in the Northern Territory.
“Importantly, many of the projects will assist communities to address the Government’s highest priorities of getting children into school, people into jobs, and making communities safer,” Minister Scullion said.
Mrs Griggs said the School Attendance Program works through a community development and partnership approach recognising family and community buy-in is essential if children are to engage with learning in a school setting.
“Central to the program is the employment of local Aboriginal people in the role of Cultural Guidance Officers who work in collaboration with Save the Children Family Support Workers to support parents to establish Get School Ready Plans for each child,” Mrs Griggs said.
“The Cultural Guidance Officers knock on doors to wake children, organise children and families to get ready for school and have breakfast, transport children to school and support school lunch programs. They also interact with community leaders, and liaise with parents and carers in regards to children’s school participation and attendance. In some cases, they will also sit in on the first lesson to help children get settled.”
Mrs Griggs said the program has been extremely successful in increasing school attendance and building the capacity of local Aboriginal staff, with eight Indigenous employees.
Minister Scullion said the 34 projects funded by the Aboriginals Benefit Account are expected to support jobs for more than 290 Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory working in a variety of full-time, part-time and casual positions.
“The skills these people pick up while working on the projects will help them to build their skills and support future employment opportunities.”
The Aboriginals Benefit Account was established under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.
The account is funded by payments from the Australian Government equivalent to the value of royalties paid by mining interests on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory.
Download media release:
2014-10-22 MR – SCULLION-GRIIGS – ABA.pdf