Federal and State Government policies

The following information was correct at the time of publication. Please see the Literature review (Appendix B) available from this website. This section of the site will be checked and updated by June 30 of each year from 2014 to 2019 in accordance with OLT requirements for dissemination within this or subsequently developed sites related to the findings of the research project.

Government policies, procedures and practices
Current Commonwealth, state and territory legislation and programs relevant to Indigenous higher education are documented here. Although higher education is primarily a Commonwealth government responsibility, state and territory programs contribute to, and impact on, Indigenous transitions to higher education, for example, programs and funding arrangements, scholarships to support Indigenous students through to Year 12 completion.

Commonwealth Government
Changes to government departments and portfolio responsibilities occurred in 2012 and in 2013 following the September federal election. The majority of higher education functions have transferred to the Department of Education but at the time of writing details and sources were still located on the Department of Industry (previously DIICRSTE) website. Some Indigenous programs are being transferred from individual departments to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet - http://www.dpmc.gov.au/indigenous_affairs/index.cfm
Responsibilities being transferred to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet include policy and related program areas covering Indigenous early childhood reform; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander School policy; the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act; the Indigenous Support Program (Higher Education); the Commonwealth Scholarships Program (Higher Education); the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSISI); regional and place-based strategies and related programs (http://indigenous.gov.au/changes-to-the-delivery-of-indigenous-programmes/) . These changes have resulted in the relocation, duplication and inaccessibility on departmental websites of some material relevant to this research project.

Department of Industry - Indigenous Higher Education - http://www.innovation.gov.au/HIGHEREDUCATION/INDIGENOUSHIGHEREDUCATION/Pages/default.aspx
The departmental website includes information about ATSIHEAC, research and reviews, policy and programs, legislation, awards and scholarships, however, this website is in transition and some links are inactive (12 November, 2013).

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Advisory Council (ATSIHEAC) provides advice to the Australian Government on enhancing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in higher education and research. The council replaced the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC) in December 2012 and is responsible for implementing the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

The Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People was released in September 2012 (Behrendt et al., 2012)
The full report, submissions, commissioned reports and fact sheets are available at: http://www.innovation.gov.au/highereducation/IndigenousHigherEducation/ReviewOfIndigenousHigherEducation/Pages/default.aspx

The Review aimed to provide advice and make recommendations in relation to:

  • achieving parity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, researchers, academic and non-academic staff;
  • best practice and opportunities for change inside universities and other higher education providers (spanning both Indigenous specific units and whole-of-university culture, policies, activities, and programs);
  • the effectiveness of existing Commonwealth Government programs that aim to encourage better outcomes for Indigenous Australians in higher education; and
  • the recognition and equivalence of Indigenous knowledge in the higher education sector.

The Review proposed a strategic framework to enable the Government and the higher education sector to collectively address higher education access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure parity in the sector.

The way forward: an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education strategy and evaluation framework

Department of Education - http://education.gov.au
Note on website: This website is currently being updated to reflect Machinery of Government changes (November 24, 2013).
Indigenous and Equity includes ATSIHEAC, Elders and Leaders Award, Indigenous staff scholarships.

Higher Education Statistics: Performance indicators and data
Using Higher Education Statistics Collection data, the Department calculates performance indicators for Indigenous higher education. These indicators enable each provider to assess its progress from year to year, and to compare its performance with other providers, states/territories and national data. Performance data include State, National and University performance: student participation and achievement, student completions, applications, offers and acceptances.

Indigenous schooling
http://education.gov.au/indigenous-schooling includes programs, scholarships and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010-2014

The Indigenous Education Statement (IES)
The government requires an Indigenous Education Statement providing information on education plans and achievements. This information is also used to determine eligibility for Indigenous Support Program (ISP) funding.

The Indigenous Support Program (ISP)
The Indigenous Support Program (ISP) provides grants to higher education providers to assist them to meet the needs of their Indigenous students and to advance the goals of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy (AEP). The types of activities supported under the ISP include the establishment of Indigenous Education Units, assistance with study skills, personal counselling and cultural awareness activities. On 18 September 2013, responsibility for this program is transferring to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Higher Education Support Act 2003 - Other Grants Guidelines

Indigenous Student Scholarships
The Commonwealth Scholarships Program (CSP) assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from low socio-economic backgrounds, particularly those from rural and regional areas, with costs associated with higher education. The scholarships program changed in 2010 and is now only available to commencing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students. The CSP continues to support students who were awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship prior to 1 January 2010 under transitional arrangements provided they maintain their eligibility. On 18 September 2013, responsibility for this program is transferring to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Indigenous Staff Scholarships
Indigenous Staff Scholarships provide professional development opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff working at universities. Up to five national scholarships are awarded each year.

The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000
On 18 September 2013, responsibility for the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 was transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Program Guidelines 2013. The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 Program Guidelines 2013 outline the Indigenous Education and Training Program elements for clients and providers. The Guidelines set out Indigenous Education and Training Program objectives, administrative requirements and funding arrangements.

The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act Annual Report
The annual IETA Report is required under the relevant legislation, the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000. The report tracks the progress of national programs and projects funded through IETA. Data and information concerning these national programs and projects are provided through annual performance reports agreed and required under each education provider's Indigenous Education Agreement. The 2009 annual report was published by in 2011 (Australia. Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), 2011). As at November 24, 2013, a more recent annual report was unable to be located on any government website.

Study Assist http://studyassist.gov.au/sites/StudyAssist/ provides information for students, including information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, about Australian Government assistance for financing tertiary study.

Abstudy provides help with costs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are studying or undertaking an Australian apprenticeship, and is administered by Centrelink.

The Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme provides funding for supplementary tuition to Indigenous students studying university award level courses, and some specified Australian Qualifications Framework accredited vocational education training courses at ITAS funded institutions, but not for basic literacy, numeracy, enabling and bridging courses.

Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme Vocational Education and Training provides funding for eligible non-government Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutions to assist Indigenous students undertaking VET courses leading to the attainment of a Certificate Level III or above qualification. Eligible students may receive up to two hours tuition per week for up to 34 weeks per academic year.

Department of Education and Training

Queensland Government Indigenous Education and Training Futures

Closing the Gap Education Strategy
Addendum to Closing the Gap Education Strategy, March 2011

Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Committee (QIECC)
The QIECC consults with Indigenous communities and directly advises the Queensland Minister for Education and Training on issues concerning or related to Indigenous training, education and higher education.

Scholarships http: //deta.qld.gov.au/indigenous/scholarships.html

Indigenous Vocational Education and Training http://deta.qld.gov.au/indigenous/training/index.html

TAFE Queensland - Indigenous students

New South Wales

NSW Department of Education and Communities: Aboriginal Education

NSW Aboriginal Education Policy

Connected Communities is a Department of Education and Communities strategy operational from the beginning of 2013 which aims to position schools as community hubs. It broadens the influence of the community and school leadership, to play a role in the delivery of key services and in supporting children and young people from birth through school into further training, study and employment.

NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc
The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. is a non for profit Aboriginal organisation that provides advice on all matters relevant to education and training with the mandate that this advice represents the Aboriginal community viewpoint. The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. promotes respect, empowerment and self-determination and believes the process of collaborative consultation is integral to achieving equity in education and is fundamental to the achievement of equality.

NSW TAFE: Services for Indigenous students
TAFE NSW has the largest Indigenous enrolment of any training provider in Australia.


Department of Education and Early Childhood Development - Aboriginal strategies


Balert Boorron: The Victorian Plan for Aboriginal Children and Young People (2010-2020)
Wannik Education Strategy http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/aboriginal/Pages/wannik.aspxhttp://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/aboriginal/Pages/wannik.aspx Koorie Transitions Coordinators http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/partnerships/Pages/partnernationalyouthprog.aspx Koorie Transitions Coordinators across Departmental Regions support Koorie students and develop relationships with Koorie young people and their families to increase the number who remain in education or training, improve aspirations to succeed at school, and support strong post-school pathways. Contact the Wannik Unit at wannik@edumail.vic.gov.au or (03) 9637 2000.

TAFE Projects

Indigenous Projects http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/research/Pages/aboriginal1.aspx
Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI) provides an advocate role for the Victorian Koorie community and representation in relation to all education and training policy, strategy and program development at the local, state and national levels.


Aboriginal Education Services https://www.education.tas.gov.au/parents_carers/schools-colleges/Programs-Initiatives/Pages/Aboriginal-Education-Services.aspx

Tasmania's Aboriginal Education Framework (2012-2015)

Alma Lily Stackhouse Scholarship: A bursary of $3000 per year to support a Year 10 Tasmanian Aboriginal student to complete Years 11 and 12. The applicant must originate from the Furneaux Islands or other remote areas of Tasmania and be pursuing a tertiary pathway to University or other tertiary-level study.

The Lucy Beeton Aboriginal Teacher Scholarship: provide a financial incentive/support for Aboriginal people to undertake a teaching qualification at the University of Tasmania. Three bursaries of $6000 each are awarded annually.

It's your choice http://www.yourchoice.tas.gov.au/
Includes polytechnics, academic and apprenticeship areas. Not restricted to indigenous students.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Education Association is the body that advises the Tasmanian Department of Education.

South Australia

South Australia Department for Education and Child Development, Aboriginal Education and Employment Services

DECD Aboriginal Policy 2013-2016

South Australian Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Body (SAAETCB): Aboriginal voices in education and training. SAAETCB is an Aboriginal community based committee that provides advice to South Australian government education and Catholic education bodies http://www.saaetcb.org.au/

TAFESA Aboriginal Support http://www.tafesa.edu.au/services/aboriginal-support

Western Australia

Department of Education and Training: Aboriginal Education

Follow the Dream: Partnership for Success is a voluntary program for high achieving Aboriginal secondary school students. The program provides after school tuition and individualised mentoring, support and case management to assist and support students to continue achieving excellent outcomes at school, complete year 12 and obtain university entry.

Aboriginal Perspectives Across the Curriculum (APAC)
Includes lesson plans, teaching resources, mind maps

Policy Directions

Western Australian Aboriginal Education and Training Council (AETC) is an independent organisation that advises the Western Australian Minister for Education and Training on policies relating to Aboriginal education and training http://www.aetcwa.org.au/

Rob Riley Awards
The prize promotes excellence in Aboriginal education generally and provides incentive and acknowledgement for Aboriginal students achieving at a very high level. Prizes of $5,000 are awarded in January each year to the leading public school Aboriginal Year 12 TER student and the leading public school Aboriginal VET in Schools student.

Aboriginal Independent Community Schools is an association of thirteen independent schools operating in Western Australia.

Northern Territory

Department of Education and Training: Indigenous education

Northern Territory Indigenous Education Council (NTIEC)
An Indigenous representative advisory body appointed by the Minister for Education and Training to provide advice and make recommendations to the NT Government and Australian Government Ministers on education for Indigenous students in the Northern Territory.

More Indigenous Teachers Initiative (MITI) aims to increase the number of Indigenous teachers in Territory schools through cadetships, scholarships and fellowships.

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Government Education and Training: Indigenous education

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Matters: Strategic Plan 2010-2013

ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Education: Annual reports from 2001
Indigenous/Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education performance reports


AussieEducator: Indigenous Education is an independent website providing national details and resources relating to Indigenous education.