The Youth Coalition asked parties and independent candidates about their policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. We asked:
- What will you do to close the gap in education, health, and housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the ACT?
The full responses we received from parties and independent candidates are below.
Click here to download the short snapshot of their policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be recognised as Australia’s first people—traditional custodians of this country, who have a unique cultural and spiritual relationship with it. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - including young people - have a right to self-determination and to fully participate in the political processes of the broader Australian community.
The ACT Labor Government is working to overcome the disadvantages that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face. Closing the gap in education is a priority – we’re helping ACT public schools implement a range of programs aimed at improving learning outcomes for ATSI students.
There are eleven ATSI Education Officers across our public schools, whose role is to support students in their education and building better relationships between schools and, families and communities. We also have five Koori preschools, which help ATSI kids develop stronger language, numeracy, and cultural understanding.
Over the next year, we’re running a pilot program called Strengthening Ngunnawal Culture and History in Schools. This gives young people the chance to build a better connection and engagement with local indigenous cultures, including guided nature tours and interaction with Ngunnawal elders.
Again, the Canberra Liberals recognise the important role community organisations have in service provision in these key areas of need. In the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, organisations such as Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation and Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service provide support services directly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their families. The Canberra Liberals have made a commitment to these organisations that they will work with them to find solutions to issues they have. More will be announced in this space closer to the election.
Joel McKay, Independent Candidate for Brindabella
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths face some extraordinary obstacles in their journey to adulthood. They must overcome powerful statistics around high rates of incarceration, smaller chances of academic excellence, and lower life expectancy.
To close the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the ACT Government must work closely with members of the Indigenous community. Federal and State Governments are often criticised for simply throwing money at the problems. The next ACT Government must find a more collaborative solution to closing the gap. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must be empowered and provided an opportunity for their own solutions to be implemented.
If elected, I will encourage the Government to work with the Indigenous community and tailor support programs specific to closing the gap. The programs must be informed by real life examples, where Aboriginal people have beaten the odds stacked against them. Whether it is someone who has been successfully rehabilitated from prison, achieved educational distinction, or simply an individual well known in the community. It is these people that must tell their story and inform the solutions and programs for closing the gap.
The above information was provided by the parties and/or candidates listed, and authorised for publication on this website by Emma Robertson, Youth Coalition of the ACT