Indigenous education

Budget Review 2013–14 Index

Marilyn Harrington

Only two of the identifiable Indigenous education measures in the 2013–14 Budget involve additional funding. The two other budget measures involve a re-announcement of funding and a continuation of funding for existing Indigenous school education programs that will also involve an administrative change.

Indigenous education scholarships

The additional funding is for two Indigenous education scholarship programs. The Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) will receive an additional $10.0 million for this year only and the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (IYLP) will receive an additional $11.9 million over four years.[1]

The AIEF is not a government program. It is a non-profit organisation that has had significant success with its boarding school and residential college scholarships but has not been able to keep up with demand.[2] The additional funding will bring the Government’s total contribution to the AIEF to $32 million since 2008. [3] The IYLP was started as a pilot program in 2006 and currently supports young Indigenous people from remote areas aged 16 to 24 years.[4] The additional funding will now provide scholarships to younger students entering Years 7, 8 and 11 in 2013 and 2014. [5]

Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education

The additional funding for the Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education (ARTIE) program was announced in December.[6] The appropriation for this funding is a provision of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2013 (the current Bill) which is currently before the Parliament.[7]

Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000

Most of the targeted Indigenous education programs are funded by the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 (IETA). The Budget has announced that $800 million over six years will be provided for a number of the IETA school education programs. From 1 June 2014, however, these programs will be moved from the IETA to annual appropriations.[8] The rationale for the move is to provide ‘greater transparency’ of funding.[9] The IETA programs are collectively designated as non-ABSTUDY payments and their funding is not disaggregated in the budget papers. However, the move to annual appropriations may provide less certainty of funding from year to year.

This budget measure creates an overlap with the current Bill.[10] The Bill’s provisions include additional funding for the first six months of 2014 for some of the programs that will move to annual appropriations. These programs include the IYLP and the ARTIE which is part of the Sporting Chance Program.[11] This raises the question whether the relevant provisions in the current Bill will be amended before it is passed or whether an amendment that will make the adjustment for all the affected IETA programs will be made in a separate Bill.

The proposed Indigenous education expenditure that is not separately identified in the Budget, except in general terms, is the loading for Indigenous school students that will apply under the Government’s National Plan for School Improvement (NPSI). [12] The NPSI is discussed in more detail in the Budget Review article on school education.

[1].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, p. 132, accessed 15 May 2013.

[2].       P van Onselsen, ‘Interview with Andrew Penfold’, Sunday Agenda, Sky News, 12 May 2013, accessed 15 May 2013. See also the AIEF website, accessed 15 May 2013.

[3].       P Garrett (Minister for School Education) and J Macklin (Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), Gillard Government boosts funding for Indigenous education, media release, 11 May 2013, accessed 13 May 2013.

[4].       Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000: program guidelines 2009 to 2013, DEEWR, 29 November 2012, p. 82, accessed 6 May 2013.

[5].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit.

[6].       W Swan (Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) and P Garrett (Minister for School Education), Former footy greats helping Indigenous kids stay in school, media release, 10 December 2012, accessed 9 May 2013.

[7].       For further information, see: M Harrington, Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2013, Bills digest, 113, 2012–13, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2013, accessed 15 May 2013.

[8].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit., p. 131.

[9].       Ibid.

[10].     M Harrington, op. cit., p. 7.

[11].     Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, op. cit., p. 131.

[12].     Australian Government, ‘Indigenous loading’, Fact sheet, Better Schools website, accessed 15 May 2013.

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