Indigenous Families Face Welfare Cuts for Truancy
19 October 2011 at 10:29 am
Punishment and incentive schemes to link indigenous school attendance with welfare payments have been supported by both the Federal Government and the Opposition.
Speaking on a visit to indigenous communities on Cape York Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told The Age, ''I'm all in favour of what the government is proposing but I think that they need to take strong action for once to actually make it happen.”
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the policy was not discriminatory and would only apply to areas where there was a high truancy rate.
Consultations with indigenous groups showed strong community support for the incentive scheme.
“All of the good jobs with lots of money go to people who have gone to school," Abbott told children at the Hopevale school on Cape York.
Attendance rates at Hopevale skyrocketed to 89% – the highest in a decade, after a new scheme was introduced that restricted parents’ spending of welfare cheques if their children did not attend school.
According to a report in The Australian, Hopevale elder and school truancy officer Victor Gibson says the soaring attendance rate can be attributed in part to the Noel Pearson-devised welfare reform agenda introduced in four Cape York communities in 2008.
Have your say: should indigenous families’ welfare payments be cut if their children do not attend school?