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Minister Scullion: Stronger Futures Report shows need for change
A report released today shows that Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory is strong on inputs, but poor on results.
The second Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Six-Monthly Progress Report, which covers the last full six month reporting period of the Rudd/Gillard Government, shows outcomes are not improving and a more practical approach is required.
Stronger Futures provides $3.4 billion over ten years to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the most recent report, which covers the period from January to June 2013, shows little improvement.
“The attendance rate of Indigenous students in government schools in very remote parts of the Northern Territory averaged just 54.8 per cent in Term 2, 2013 and has not improved in recent years,” Minister Scullion said.
“In contrast, the Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) introduced in Term 1 this year is already achieving strong results in many Northern Territory communities.
“Since the strategy was implemented at the start of school this year, there has been a 17 per cent increase in the number of students attending Northern Territory Government RSAS schools compared to Term 1, 2013.”
The report also revealed Indigenous employment levels in the Northern Territory have not improved since 2008.
The proportion of Indigenous adults of workforce age who are employed in the Northern Territory (excluding employment under the Community Development Employment Projects programme) changed only marginally from 33.4 per cent in 2008 to 34.7 per cent in 2012-13 and remains far too low.
In comparison, the employment rate for non-Indigenous people of workforce age in the Northern Territory is 84.8 per cent, compared to a national average of 75.6 per cent.
“The poor employment outcomes also show the need for change and a stronger focus on economic development and jobs as the best way to overcome Indigenous disadvantage,” Minister Scullion said.
“We need a more practical approach – not the overly bureaucratic reporting under the existing Stronger Futures National Partnership Agreement. As was announced in last week’s Budget, we will work with the Northern Territory Government to simplify and focus the agreement more towards results and economic development leading to the creation of real jobs.”
Despite some limited progress, the Stronger Futures report revealed there is a long way to go to make Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory safe places to live.
“The hospitalisation figures for 2010-11 showed Indigenous people in the Northern Territory were 17 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault than non-Indigenous people,” Minister Scullion said.