The target of providing all Indigenous four-year-olds living in remote communities with access to early childhood education by 2013 is on track to be met this year according to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
Ms Gillard said the Closing the Gap initiative meant there were now more Indigenous children than ever before with access to preschool or kindergarten programs.
“This means young Indigenous Australians are getting a better start to life and are ready to learn when they get to school,” Ms Gillard said.
PM hails Indigenous progress
“Achieving this target is an important first step towards closing the gap in educational attainment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”
She said work was now proceeding to ensure that the improved access to early education also led to improved school attendance, so children could build on the great start a preschool or kindergarten program provided.
She said the recently tabled Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2013 also showed strong progress towards the target of halving the gap for Year 12 attainment.
“The target of halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018 is also on track to be met,” Ms Gillard said.
“The Australian Government committed to the Closing the Gap targets because we knew that previous haphazard approaches to ending Indigenous disadvantage had not been good enough.”
She said the targets committed all Australian governments to an overarching framework and held them accountable to specific targets.
“This work will take time and continued effort,” she said.
“Government cannot close the gap alone.
“Closing the Gap requires a genuine partnership with Indigenous Australians at all levels and the Government is committed to a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.”
The Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2013 report can be accessed at this PS News link.