NSW Premier Mike Baird today announced a major expansion of the successful Clontarf Foundation program, which encourages Aboriginal boys and young men to stay at school by harnessing their passion for sport.
Mr Baird made the announcement during a visit to Endeavour Sports High at Caringbah – the first Sydney school to be involved in the program.
“The Clontarf Foundation does an outstanding job of encouraging Aboriginal boys to improve their education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects through participation in sporting programs before and after school,” Mr Baird said.
“As part of the program, these students are allowed to participate in the sporting activities only on the condition that they also attend classes.
“There are currently about 720 students in 11 Clontarf Foundation Academies across the State and that will increase to up to 1,720 students as a result of this additional funding.”
NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said the program would be expanded to as many as 27 Academies in NSW.
“By encouraging students to put the same passion they show for sport into their studies, the program is successfully increasing school attendance rates of Aboriginal students in NSW,” Mr Piccoli said.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said the program had been hugely successful.
“I have seen first-hand, young boys coming into the Clontarf Academies and leaving as successful and confident young men,” Senator Scullion said.
“Attending a Clontarf Academy doesn’t end when you graduate – you’re part of the Clontarf family for life.”
NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Leslie Williams said the extra funding would ensure the program continues to support even more Aboriginal boys.
“The Clontarf Foundation programs have benefitted hundreds of students and I am proud to be part of a government delivering extra funding to expand this valuable initiative,” Mrs Williams said.
Clontarf Foundation Chief Executive Officer Gerard Neesham welcomed the announcement.
“This funding for up to 1,000 additional places in our programs is fantastic news and recognition of the positive impact we are having on the lives of thousands of Aboriginal boys, their families and many communities across Australia,” Mr Neesham said.
The NSW Government is providing up to $8.6 million across 2015 and 2016 for this program. This is on top of $13.4 million committed by the Commonwealth Government in the 2014/15 Budget for Clontarf Academies across the country.
Member for Cronulla Mark Speakman, Member for Miranda Eleni Petinos, Member for Heathcote Lee Evans and Federal Member for Cook, The Hon Scott Morrison MP also attended today’s event.