On the day that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull toppled Tony Abbott, he made a pretty big call and said that we’re living in “the most exciting time to be an Australian”. Exciting though it may be for old mate PM Mal, there are still a number of very uncomfortable truths facing us Indigenous young people today.
If I told you that we are much less likely than non-Indigenous Australians to complete Year 11 and 12 would that shock you?
How about if I said that we’re falling behind in maths, technology, science and reading skills?
If I explained that as the world of work changes over the next 10-20 years, young Indigenous people will be highly affected, how would you react?
And if I told you that if we don’t change something soon that we are less likely to find employment after we finish school, would you think I’m joking?
Well I’m not. I’m really not.
These stats scare me as much as when Big Tone told us that climate change wasn’t real. If you want to know more about the numbers, check out the How Young People Are Faring report.
If we as a country don’t change something soon, these statistics will only get worse. We will see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people not completing Year 11 or 12, more of us falling behind in key subjects at school and more of us left behind when it comes to finding the employment we want.
Before the most recent federal election, the government made some very big promises about the way our first nation’s peoples would be treated but we’re not seeing the gap close.That just makes my bottom lip fall. It really does.
If we want to change these statistics, we have to work harder to close the gap. We’ve got to stop walking backwards in Indigenous Affairs, and start walking forwards.
Let’s tell Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that we want this government to be the innovators they’ve been talking about. Let’s tell them we want an Enterprise Education Strategy so we’re all taught the skills we need to succeed at work; a strategy that doesn’t leave Indigenous young people behind.
We cannot continue with a scrappy approach to learning. We need this national strategy to ensure that we as leaders of the future have the chance to learn the skills we need to compete and thrive in the next stages of our economy and our future.
Let’s see what response this gets from Canberra.