Key ElementsThe Australian Government has committed $28.9 million to build and operate three new boarding facilities for Indigenous secondary students in the Northern Territory.
BackgroundImproving access to secondary schools through expanded accommodation facilities will improve year 12 retention (or its vocational equivalent) and performance of Indigenous students.
Three boarding facilities will be built to accommodate students from years 8 to 12, enabling Indigenous students from remote communities to access secondary school education. The first 40-bed facility will open in 2009 with the two other facilities to be completed in 2010. Funding covers both construction and operational costs over four years.
The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) manages the $38.8 million Indigenous Boarding Hostels Partnership program. This program provides accommodation for Indigenous students living in remote communities so they can go to secondary schools in regional centres. On 26 March, Minister Macklin announced funding for a 120-bed secondary school student hostel in Weipa from this program.
ImplementationCommunity-level consultations will commence in May 2008.
Agreement on the location of boarding facilities and their construction will be negotiated with Indigenous communities, the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), and Northern Territory education providers. Similarly, management options will be developed in consultation with relevant education providers, local communities, Aboriginal Hostels Limited and other interested parties.
Funding will be provided to one or more third parties to manage the procurement process on behalf of the Australian Government.
The ILC has made a capital contribution of $15 million for the hostel. The ILC, as part of its National Indigenous Land Strategy 2007-2012, has committed to establishing student hostels to enable Indigenous youth from remote areas to obtain secondary school education.