[by Clarissa Carradine]
Australian Treasury hosts ‘Follow The Dream’ students from around Australia
Ten Aboriginal secondary students from around Australia who are enrolled in the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s ‘Follow The Dream’ program flew to Canberra in mid-January for a specially designed Economic and Social Policy Summit hosted by the Australian Treasury.
During the week-long Summit, students learnt about Treasury’s role in advising on key policy matters, how the Department supports the government to make important budgetary decisions, and the impact Treasury has on issues important to everyday Australians. Students also had the opportunity to explore potential career pathways in government, tour parliamentary institutions, and visit local landmarks.
Follow The Dream students in front of the Australian Treasury. Image: supplied
28 Aboriginal children in WA detention deprived an education
[Heather McNeill, WAtoday]
There are renewed calls to raise the minimum age a child can be imprisoned in the wake of another damning report into Western Australia’s "broken" youth justice system.
Hundreds of distraught Indigenous tenants face mass eviction
[Ella Archibald-Binge, SBS]
There are calls for the Queensland government to intervene to stop the mass eviction of Indigenous residents from 37 former social housing homes.
Rescuing languages from the brink
[supplied by PM&C]
Professor Kim Scott of Curtin University, who has been part of the project, will speak at a National Library of Australia conference in February about the progress that has been made.
The Summit marks the inaugural event for the newly formed partnership between the Australian Treasury and the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation. The two organisations will work closely together to provide opportunities for Aboriginal students who are interested in social studies, economics and mathematics and who would like to learn about the many exciting career opportunities in Treasury.
Philip Gaetjens, Secretary to the Treasury, commented: “We called this Summit GadiMura – a Ngunnawal expression for ‘pathways’. We wanted to make this experience a pathway for students to understand more about what Treasury does, and learn more about Canberra and its institutions. We also hope that the students will be inspired to follow public policy and join the public service in a professional role.”
Each student was paired with several mentors from Treasury who provided support throughout the week, hints and tips on career planning, and a ‘front row’ view on issues the Department is currently working on. Students also had the opportunity to visit their mentors in the workplace to get a glimpse of what a career at Treasury would entail.
Throughout the Summit, students took part in a variety of interesting and stimulating activities, including a ‘Policy Challenge’ where they worked in teams to tackle a ‘live’ policy issue and develop advice for the appropriate Minister on a recommended course of action.
Rebekah Delaney, Year 12 Follow The Dream student from Sevenoaks in Perth, said that this was the best educational trip she has ever been on: “It was fantastic to have access to such a high-level government workplace. I really enjoyed hearing the personal stories of our mentors at the Treasury who have motivated me to work hard to achieve my goals and who encouraged us to use our voices to inspire change. I am grateful to Follow The Dream as without this program I would never have such incredible opportunities.”
During a tour of Parliament House, students heard about how Treasury interfaces with parliament and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have influenced parliamentary process. Another highlight of the Summit was an excursion to the High Court to learn about the national significance of decisions made here, including the Mabo Case.
Treasury also organised a tour of the Old Parliament House where students staged a mock debate about the historical motion to construct a dam across the Franklin River inTasmania, one of the most significant environmental campaigns in Australian history. Students also took this opportunity to visit the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns of the Old Parliament House to gain a better understanding of the role the Embassy has played in national politics since it was established in1972.
In between debating hot policy issues and touring parliamentary buildings, students also visited the National Museum of Australia to explore the ancient and recent experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, learn about the Stolen Generation, and experiment with Indigenous tools.