It is disappointing that the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Shayne Neumann, and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary, Warren Snowdon, have accused Indigenous men and women who are committed to seeing children in their community attend school as being part of a ‘truancy army flop’.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said he’s appalled that Labor would question the commitment of local people that are leading the effort to increase indigenous school attendance in 73 schools, and trying to empower families and communities.
“Not only did Neumann and Snowdon slam the work of the 570 on-the-ground school attendance officers and supervisors, they also got the facts wrong on the performance of the Government’s Remote School Attendance Strategy,” Minister Scullion said.
“They should look at Labor’s record in government to get a real example of a truancy flop. In 2013, COAG concluded that there had been no improvement in Indigenous school attendance over the previous five years.
“Our Strategy wasn’t introduced against a backdrop of effective programmes – it was introduced against a background of no progress at all.
“Labor didn’t have a strategy then to improve school attendance and they don’t have one now.
Considering this, it would be highly surprising if Indigenous school attendance made a quantum leap in one year.
“At the end of Semester one across the 30 Northern Territory Remote School Attendance Strategy stage one schools, there was a 15 per cent rise in the number of children attending school, compared to the same time last year.
“In Queensland at the end of term two this year, in Remote School Attendance Strategy schools there was a 14 per cent rise in the number of children attending school, compared to the same time last year.
“These results in the Northern Territory and Queensland are reflected in other states that are part of the Strategy.
“Of course there are challenges in some communities but we are adopting a flexible approach and continuing to explore a range of initiatives to ensure children are attending school – working locally with families, communities and schools, and with the states and territories.
“The Remote School Attendance Strategy funding of $46.5 million is over two years not for ten months as Labor claims.”
Download media release:
2014-10-30 MR – SCULLION – Truancy Army.pdf