Closing the Gap - Northern Territory - enhancing education - school nutrition

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; Centrelink

Key Elements

The Australian Government will provide $37.5 million over three years to fund the School Nutrition Program.  The key elements of the program are:

  • The provision of breakfast and/or lunch for students attending schools located in the Northern Territory prescribed communities.
  • The employment of 129 Indigenous people in full and part-time positions to deliver the program.
  • Initiatives to promote good nutrition and food preparation skills amongst community members. 

The School Nutrition Program contributes to achieving Closing the Gap priorities by improving student engagement and attendance leading to better literacy and numeracy outcomes for remote Indigenous children.


The School Nutrition Program helps meet the needs of  remote Indigenous communities, where schools have reported that children were not receiving a nutritious breakfast or lunch each day.  This resulted in students who were tired, unable to concentrate, and not ‘ready to learn’.

The Program provides for staffing and administrative costs involved in providing meals for students. Meal costs are met by the parents or carers of children from either income managed funds, or via private payment arrangements. In addition to meeting the nutritional needs of school-aged children in prescribed communities, the program employs 154 people (129, or around 83.8 per cent of whom are local Indigenous people). 

The program benefits an estimated 8,000 children currently enrolled in schools in prescribed communities. Indirectly the program also benefits the families of the students and the broader community through improved knowledge of nutrition and via employment opportunities.


This measure is currently being delivered by a network of 69 contracted program providers in prescribed communities. Future program delivery options, including the option of continuing current arrangements, are presently under active consideration by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Total Government Funding

$37.5 million over three years.

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