AYAC’s Stance on Welfare Cuts in Remote Communities

Since this page was published the Department of Education and the Department of Employment have been created out of the former Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

MEDIA RELEASE  – 19th October 2011: AYAC Urges Government to Re-Think Indigenous Truancy Policy

The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) – the peak body representing Australia’s young people and the youth support sector – today raised serious concern regarding the announcement of the implementation of compulsory income management or welfare cuts to parents in Indigenous communities whose children don’t attend school. AYAC’s concerns add weight to similar fears raised by various organisations and community groups in recent weeks.

“The policy is a punitive measure designed to punish parents whose children truant; it does not consider the underlying causes of truancy in Aboriginal communities”, said Andrew Cummings, Executive Director of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition. “There are often issues around health, language or culture that cause high rates of truancy in Aboriginal young people living in remote areas of Australia”.

AYAC’s recent research into participation and employment in remote communities highlighted the need for innovative education models in remote Indigenous communities. The models that work best are those defined by the communities themselves in consultation with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and other service providers. The models blend modern paradigms of education with traditional culture and use resources ranging from local knowledge to the National Broadband Network Scheme.

AYAC believes the future of Indigenous education and participation should be based on meaningful consultations with communities and recognise and enhance the inherent strengths that young people possess.

For further comment, please contact Andrew Cummings, AYAC Executive Director:

M:       0435 146 979

E:        andrew@ayac.org.au

To download a copy of the media release – click here