The 25th annual National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day on Saturday 4
August 2012 is an important reminder that giving every young person the best start in life helps them to realise their full potential.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jeanette Powell said this year’s theme, Our Children, Our Culture, Our Way provided a sharpened focus on how future generations can connect with their culture and enjoy a brighter future.
“In the 25 years since the first National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Children’s Day, there has been real progress in health, education and cultural awareness for Aboriginal Victorians, but there is still a long way to go,” Mrs Powell said.
“Together with the community, the Victorian Coalition Government has put the stepping
stones in place to help close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.”
Programs like Aboriginal In Home Support; Home Based learning; Cradle to Kinder, free
kindergarten for three and four year olds; improved maternity services and improved maternal and child health services are just some of the ways we assist parents and children in these first demanding years of life.
Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell said the focus on early
years is already showing results with significant increases in kindergarten participation rates
among three and four year old Aboriginal children.
“In 2011,nearly 40 per cent of three year olds and more than 72 per cent of four year old
Aboriginal children participated in kindergarten,” Ms Lovell said.
“An Aboriginal child and family centre has been established in Whittlesea and a second centre is being established in Bairnsdale. Culturally appropriate maternal and child health services are being enhanced resulting in the highest ever participation rates by Aboriginal children and their families in these health services,” Mrs Powell said.
“The Victorian Aboriginal community is younger than the state average with more than a third
of Aboriginal Victorians under 15 years of age. The Victorian Aboriginal community is growing
and we know that each new generation brings new promise,” Mrs Powell said.