Joint Media Release with Minister for Education and Training Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Today is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, a day to celebrate and show our support for Indigenous children throughout Australia.
At a time when the spotlight has been firmly shone on the treatment of our Indigenous children, today more than ever is a day to pause and celebrate the significant role culture and family plays in the lives of Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander children.
The theme for the day is My Country, Our Country – We All Belong, which aims to recognise that every child belongs to this country and we all should be proud of our cultural diversity.
Speaking from the remote Northern Territory community of Gapuwiyak today, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the Turnbull Government was investing in a wide range of services to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were given the best start in life.
“Providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families with high quality services to support early learning from birth is critical to ensuring Indigenous children reach their potential,” Minister Scullion said.
“We are continuing to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities to develop services that are tailored to local needs and are culturally appropriate.”
Minister Scullion said he and Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, would work with state and territory governments, communities and schools to ensure the Foundation to Year 10 curriculum enabled all students to engage in reconciliation, respect and recognition of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures.
“We must make changes to broaden the education system – to recognise Indigenous Australia at the heart of the nation, and to make this a core area of studies for all,” Minister Scullion said.
“It is my strong belief that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history must be explored and explained in our schools.
“Our Indigenous culture is at the heart of our nation, so Indigenous history and language needs to be at the heart of our curriculum if we are to educate students to be truly respectful and value our nation’s heritage.”
Minister Birmingham said the Turnbull Government was prioritising evidence-based reforms in education from early education and care, to schooling and post-school learning and training that would help all Australian students achieve their full potential.
“Today’s theme is one of inclusion and it’s reflected in how the Turnbull Government wants to see the education system embrace and support all students, no matter their background or ability,” Minister Birmingham said.
“We want to ensure the entire country is working together to help raise outcomes for Indigenous students. That’s why we want to support the Indigenous community through our reforms to child care, why Indigenous history and language needs a strong place in our school curriculums and why we need to help remove barriers for school leavers to go on to further education.
“The Turnbull Government’s plans for the education system from high chair to higher education are set to deliver for Indigenous Australians because our reforms are based on evidence and will ensure support is targeted where it’s most needed.”
The Australian Government has provided the Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) with $618,700 over three years to support National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day activities.
SNAICC is bringing together events all over the country in celebration of the day. Further information about the day, including events, is available at: http://aboriginalchildrensday.com.au