Higher education policy timeline

The following information was correct at the time of publication.  Please see the Literature review (Appendix C) 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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education policy timeline

National milestones in higher education; Australian government legislation, reports, policies; and international conventions

1965: Freedom rides through NSW country towns draw attention to racism and discrimination in education;  organised by Charles Perkins and the Student Action for Aborigines (SAFA) (Cadzow, 2010, p. 25).

1966: Charles Perkins the first known Aboriginal male to graduate, with a BA from the University of Sydney (Cadzow, 2010, p. 24; Cleverley & Mooney, 2010, p. 31).

1966: Margaret Valadian, the first Aboriginal woman to graduate with a BA, from the University of Queensland.

1966: UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education was ratified by Australia. The Convention called for higher education to be equally accessible to all, and recognised "'rights of national minorities to carry on their own education activities'" (Ellis, 2001, p. 58).

1967: A National Referendum passed to amend the Australian Constitution: section 127 to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the national census; and section 51(xxvi), enabling the Commonwealth Government to enact "special laws" in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including education.

1968: Tertiary Aboriginal Studies course established by Max Hart at Western Teachers' College, South Australia.

1969: Two national seminars focusing on Aboriginal education identified the need for better pathways between the school and tertiary sectors, traineeships leading to apprenticeships and more scholarships for higher education, specialised pre-and in-service teacher education programs for teachers of Indigenous students (Malin & Maidment, 2003, p. 87).

1969: The Aboriginal Study Grants Scheme (ABSTUDY) was introduced for Indigenous students in tertiary studies from the beginning of the 1969 academic year.  Eligible full-time students received a Living Allowance, with higher rates for partnered students and those with dependent children.  Also paid were compulsory course fees, a book and equipment allowance, and travel costs for students who needed to study away from home.  ABSTUDY was extended to mature age secondary students to enable them to advance to matriculation studies and to gain entry into tertiary education.

1970: Aboriginal Secondary Grants Scheme (ABSEG) was introduced to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in secondary education to enable them to progress to tertiary studies.

1972-1975: Whitlam Labor government in power.  Used the referendum to make major changes in Aboriginal affairs (Attwood & Markus, 2007), including financial support for education (Ellis, 2001, p. 59).

1973: ABSEG was extended to include all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attending secondary school.

1973: ABSTUDY administration included in Student Assistance Act, 1973.

1973: Aboriginal Task Force (ATF), first tertiary program and Aboriginal support unit for Indigenous students, established at the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) with Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs funding. It attracted students from other parts of the country (Ellis, 2001, p. 61), and became a model for the establishment of three more units in colleges of advanced education in Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia (Brooks, 1994, pp. 29-30).

1975-6: ABSTUDY was extended to enable special courses to be established for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote areas and to provide "specialist instructors" (Australia. Department of Industry Innovation Science Research and Tertiary Education, 2011).

1975: Aboriginal Consultative Group (ACG) established to advise the Commonwealth Schools Commission on Aboriginal education.

1977: National Aboriginal Education Committee (NAEC) grew out of the ACG.

1979: NAEC sponsored project report. The education and employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers released. Major recommendations included that a thousand Indigenous teachers be trained by 1990 (Hughes & Willmot, 1982) http://matsiti.edu.au/1000-teachers-by-1990/

1980: National Aboriginal Education Committee Policy on Indigenous education emphasised cultural heritage, Indigenous studies for all Australian people, promotion of cross-cultural understanding, skills acquisition, and Aboriginal peoples' involvement in managing their own education.

1983-1991: Hawke Labor government in power.  The Australian Government's Indigenous education programs were restructured, and in 1991 the Aboriginal Education Direct Assistance (AEDA) Program (later the Indigenous Education Direct Assistance (IEDA)) was established to support the implementation of the broad aims of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy (Australia. Department of Education, 2004).

1984: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit established at the University of Queensland.

1985: Report of the Committee of Review of Aboriginal Employment and Training Programs [the Miller report] made recommendations for changes to Aboriginal education and training. The report became a blueprint on how government training and employment programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would be delivered, contained a comprehensive package of recommendations designed to rationalise Aboriginal economic development policy and programs around a general theme of increasing Aboriginal economic independence (M. Miller, 1985).

1985: Review funded by the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission in collaboration with the National Aboriginal Education Committee to examine Indigenous Higher Education Centres [the Jordan report] (Jordan & Howard, 1985). This study reports a "500 per cent increase" in the number of Indigenous students enrolled in higher education since 1973, attributing the increase to the support and "special entry conditions" of the centres (Ellis, 2001, p. 62).  It is seen to have influenced government policy and contributed towards an increase in Aboriginal and Islander  support units in higher education institutions from 19 in 1984 to 58 in 1989 (P. Gale, 1998).

1985: Report of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Aboriginal education [the Blanchard report] (Australia. House of Representatives Select Committee on Aboriginal education, 1985). Highlights the educational disadvantage experienced by Indigenous Australians and "represents a shift in policy from 'welfare' towards 'equity' in education by the then Hawke Labor Government".  The Jordan and Blanchard Reports are seen to contribute to a subsequent shift in government policy in the mid to late 1980s. This shift led to substantial increases in the allocation of resources to tertiary education institutions, and an increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in tertiary education (P. Gale, 1998).

1985: Aboriginal Participation Initiative (API), a program of funding additional places for Indigenous people in higher education was introduced (Dawkins, 1988; Ellis, 2001).

1987:  Aboriginal Employment Development Policy (Australian Government, 1987) was developed as a result of the Report of the Committee of Review of Aboriginal Employment and Training Programs . The broad objectives of this policy were to achieve: (1) employment equity with other Australians, that is to increase the proportion of Aboriginal people aged 15 and above who are employed from 37% to around 60%; (2) income equity with other Australians, that is a doubling of the median income of Aboriginals; (3) equitable participation in primary, secondary and tertiary education; and (4) a reduction of Aboriginal welfare dependency to a level commensurate with that of other Australians, that is a reduction in Aboriginal dependency on the unemployment benefit from the current level of around 30% of the working age population to only 5%.

1988: Report of the Aboriginal Education Policy Task Force. Hughes, Paul (chair). The report outlined the current situation in Aboriginal education, a national Aboriginal education policy, including proposed objectives, and strategies for schooling and for tertiary education, the development and implementation of a policy, and a summary of recommendations (Hughes & Australia Aboriginal Education Policy Task Force, 1988).

1988: ABSTUDY and ABSEG amalgamated into the current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Study Assistance Scheme (ABSTUDY) with two components, ABSTUDY Tertiary and ABSTUDY Schooling (Australia. Department of Industry Innovation Science Research and Tertiary Education, 2011) and funded under the Higher Education Funding Act 1988.

1988: Commonwealth Government's Higher Education: a Policy statement committed to Aboriginal participation and graduation targets and a Task Force to develop a National Aboriginal Education Policy (Ellis, 2001, p. 59).

1988: Higher Education Equity Program (HEEP) included focus on needs of Aboriginal people and others under-represented in higher education.

1989:  National Aboriginal Education Policy (NAEP), later National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy (NATSIEP) came into effect on January 1, 1990. The policy identified 21 goals to work towards the aims of involving Aboriginal people in educational decision-making; equity of education access and participation; equitable and appropriate outcomes.  Programs introduced included Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness Program (ASSPA), Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ATAS), Vocational and Educational Guidance for Aboriginals Scheme (VEGAS).  Gale argues that the funding focus was on allocation of places, but not on "staff development, Aboriginal and Islander academic career development, or course and curriculum development" (P. Gale, 1998). Endorsed by all state, territory and Commonwealth governments, it is also known as the Joint Policy Statement (Australia. Department of Employment Education and Training, 1989).

1989: Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) introduced fees for higher education study with options for students to defer payment contribution and pay through taxation when income reached a certain level, or pay fees up front.

1989: Aboriginal Education Centre established at University of Sydney, renamed the Koori Centre in 2002.

1990: A fair chance for all paper by Australian Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) reviewed under-represented groups in higher education (Ellis, 2001, p. 59).

1990: Aboriginal Education Strategic Initiatives Program (AESIP), introduced as a result of the 1989 NATSIEP, provided supplementary assistance to education providers to enhance indigenous education outcomes in accordance with the National AEP's goals, including funding for bridging courses. It supplements mainstream education funding and is provided through the Aboriginal Education (Supplementary Assistance) Act 1989 (Australia. Department of Education Employment and Training, 1995).

1991-1996: Keating Labor government in power.

1991: Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC).  (Australia. Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody et al., 1991). Addressing the RCIADIC recommendations relating to Aboriginal Literacy Strategy and the Aboriginal Languages Education Strategy to progress teaching of Aboriginal languages in TAFE and higher education institutions, the federal government provided additional AESIP funding in 1993-1995.

1993: Ministerial Council for Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) established and agreed to undertake a review of the NATSIEP.

1993: AUSTUDY /ABSTUDY Supplement introduced - a voluntary loans scheme providing additional funding for living and study expenses.

1994: Aboriginal Higher Education Association formed; renamed Indigenous Higher Education Association in 1996.

1995: Final Report of the National Review of Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Chair: Manduwuy Yunupingu)(Yunupingu, 1995). The report  identified that educational inequality still existed for Indigenous Australians and called for all governments to "'reaffirm their commitment' to the policy" (Ellis, 2001, p. 60).

1995: Commonwealth Government's response to the National Review of Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Provided additional Aboriginal Education Strategic Initiatives Program (AESIP) funds; expanded tutorial assistance, particularly in rural and remote areas; additional funding for higher education to encourage enrolments in a broader range of disciplines;

1995: MCEETYA. National Strategy for the Education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (NATSIEP), 1996-2002. (Ministerial Council for Education Employment Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA), 1995). This revised strategy aggregated the 21 original NATSIEP goals into seven priorities for action, including a Collaborative Action Plan with a range of key agreed outcomes for each priority for each sector of education.  It was accepted "in principle" by all governments (Ellis, 2001, p. 60).

1995: NSW Aboriginal Education Policy revised recommending a focus on improving Aboriginal student outcomes and educating all students about Aboriginal cultures and histories.

1996-2007: Howard Liberal/National coalition government in power.

1996: A review of support funding for indigenous Australian students in higher education recommended a focus on EFTSU funding, links between funding, outcomes and student load, review support services (Ham, 1996).

1996: Government funding for Indigenous students increased with target for full time equivalents rising by 40% from 4,406 in 1992 to over 6,000 in 1996 (Ellis, 2001, p. 60).

1996: IESIP (Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Programme) funded by the Indigenous Education (Supplementary Assistance) Act 1989 (Cth), was a restructured AESIP with aims:

  • to increase the participation of Indigenous people in education decision-making
  • to ensure equal education access for Indigenous people)
  • to ensure equity of participation in education for Indigenous people
  • to achieve equitable and appropriate educational outcomes for Indigenous
  • to encourage the development of education services that are culturally appropriate for Indigenous people

1996: HECS contribution amount increased; income threshold for repayments lowered; courses were divided into three HECS bands according to cost of delivering courses and potential benefit to graduates. Band 1 fields of study increased by approximately 30 per cent, on Band 2 fields by 90 per cent and Band 3 fields by 120 per cent.  Lack of data prior to the 1989 introduction of HECS has made it difficult to assess the initial financial impact of fees (Andrews, 1999). HECS caused little change to the low SES participation in higher education (including Indigenous Australians) because participation was dependent on other factors such as family history and support, role models, geography, cultural differences, and peer group (Andrews, 1999, p. 21).

1996: ABSTUDY government policy changes included targeting the Away-From-Base (AFB) funding, directly affecting Aboriginal students.  A compromise was reached following Indigenous education support centres lobbying the government, and the funding continued but under a new formula that restricted attendance hours at AFB courses (Cleverley & Mooney, 2010, pp. 215-217).

1996-7: Commonwealth Government provided funding for establishment of six Indigenous Higher Education Centres to focus on research and advanced teaching at University of Newcastle, University of South Australia, QUT and University of Queensland, University of Western Australia, Northern Territory University, Curtin University of Technology; additional funding provided in 2001, encouraging self-funding (Australia. Department of Education Training and Youth Affairs, 1999, pp. 91-92).

1997: ABSTUDY funding cuts led to reduction in income for many Indigenous students; service delivery was transferred to Centrelink.

1997: IESIP triennium funding provided direct to education and training providers in the preschool, school and VET sectors under three elements: Supplementary Recurrent Assistance (SRA); Transitional Project Assistance (TPA); and Strategic Results Projects (SRP).  SRA was allocated on a per capita basis. Numbers are calculated annually and there is a loading for geographically remote education providers. The remaining IESIP budget is allocated to TPA and SRP (McRae et al., 2000).

1997: Bringing them home: Report of the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families was released, documenting the impact on their education of the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The report recommended that the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child removal policies and the ongoing effects be included in school curricula.  (Australia. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997).

1998: Indigenous Support Funding program higher education revised funding formula based on academic success (award courses completed and student load), and participation (EFTU) (Australia. Department of Education Training and Youth Affairs, 1999).

1999: Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education became independent of the Northern Territory Government with an Indigenous director.

1999: Higher education: indigenous education strategies; 1999-2001 released by Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA).

2000: National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy (NIELNS) established.

2000: ABSTUDY changes to align it with Youth Allowance (YA), Austudy, Newstart and eligibility criteria and rates of payment for Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) with other PES (Australia. Department of Education Science and Training, 2004b)came into place. The changes are believed by some to have resulted in a drop in Indigenous enrolments (National Teriary Education Union, 2005), particularly for mature age students (Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Commission, 1999), while DEST attributed the decrease  to other factors, such as a decline in enabling centre enrolments in favour of other courses (Australia. Department of Education Science and Training, 2004b).

2000: Australian Senate. Katu kalpa: Report on the inquiry into the effectiveness of education and training programs for indigenous Australians. (Australia. Senate Employment Workplace Relations Small Business and Education References Committee, 2000). The inquiry examined 10 years of reports into Indigenous education and found mixed results.  Among other things the report recommended government review and monitoring of changes to funding and equity targets (Ellis, 2001, p. 65).

2000: MCEETYA Taskforce on Indigenous Education, Achieving educational equality for Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. A discussion paper released by the Ministerial Council for Education Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA Taskforce on Indigenous Education, 2000).

2002: National Report to Parliament on Indigenous education and training, 2001. This was the first in a series of annual reports to document "the progress of Indigenous education and training" in the four main sectors of education and training in Australia – pre-school, schooling, VET and higher education (Australia. Department of Education Science and Training, 2002).

2003: The Indigenous Support Program (ISP) established under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to provide funding to higher education providers for the "establishment and management of Indigenous Education Units, assistance with study skills, personal counselling and cultural awareness activities" (Australia. Department of Industry Innovation Science Research and Tertiary Education, 2012a).

2005: Australian Government Indigenous education specific funding for quadrennium 2005-2008: ATAS (Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Scheme) renamed ITAS (Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme) provides funding for students in schools, VET and higher education. Indigenous Education Direct Assistance (IEDA) were brought under Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) legislation, following a 2003 review, redirecting resources to programs with improved outcomes; focus on retention and completion of high school; tertiary tuition for 4,000 students, and focus on students in remote locations. Greater accountability applied, with evaluation of performance data from educational institutions(Australia. Department of Education Science and Training, 2004a).

2005: ABSTUDY: a means-tested living allowance for eligible Australian Apprentices under ABSTUDY was introduced. It also exempted from income assessment the value of Commonwealth Trade Learning Scholarships and Tools for your Trade initiative (Australia. Department of Industry Innovation Science Research and Tertiary Education, 2011).

2006: Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC). Improving Indigenous outcomes and enhancing Indigenous culture and knowledge in Australian higher education. This was the first report of the IHEAC (established in 2005) and was prepared for the IHEAC by Professor Richard James and Marcia Devlin of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne. It was presented to Julie Bishop, Minister for Education, Science and Training in the Howard Government. It included the IHEAC Strategic Plan 2006-2008 presenting seven key priority areas for collaborative action including pathways with schools and TAFE; increased Indigenous student enrolment, retention, and research; enhanced roles for Indigenous culture, knowledge and studies; increased Indigenous employment; and Indigenous participation in university governance. The document also called for an "independent study of the roles of Indigenous Education and Support Centres" reviewing their "missions", naming, reporting lines, outcomes, relationships with funding support initiatives and Indigenous academic curricula development.

2007-2013: Rudd/Gillard Labor Government in power

2007: National Report to Parliament on Indigenous education and training noted a decrease in the proportion of Indigenous students who achieved a Year 12 Certificate, from 51.3% in 2001 to 44.3% in 2007, and for Indigenous higher education students, a 25% increase in enrolments in Bachelor and above courses and a fall of 36% in below Bachelor degree courses (Australia. Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations, 2011c).

2008: Review of Australian Higher Education: Discussion paper [the Bradley Review]. The paper identified under-representation of Indigenous people in higher education (I.25% in 2006), and two key issues: school academic preparation and completion rates; university retention. It recommended the establishment of sector-wide targets for participation of groups still underrepresented in higher education, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. (Australia. Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) & Bradley, 2008).

2009: The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act Annual Report, 2009. The first in a series of reports required under Section 17A of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000 (IETA), provides details of national programs and projects, including funding details, across the four education sectors – preschool, schooling, vocational education and training and higher education (Australia. Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), 2011).

2009: A Review of Australian Directions in Indigenous Education 2005–2008 was undertaken by MCEECDYA. It recommended that a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan with specific teaching and learning outcomes be established.

2009: National Education Agreement (NEA), a new funding framework for schools that defined Commonwealth, State and Territory roles and responsibilities, objectives, outcomes, performance benchmarks and indicators for reporting. The agreement articulated the commitment of all Australian governments to ensure that all Australian school students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in society and employment in a globalised economy.  It included some targets for Indigenous participation, attendance and achievement in education (Council of Australian Governments (COAG), 2010).

2010: Ministerial Council for Education Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan 2010-2014. Included "pathways to real post-school options", and proposed collaboration with higher education institutions to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in higher education (Ministerial Council for Education Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA), 2010).

2011: COAG. National Indigenous Reform Agreement: Closing the gap addressed six specific targets focusing on the "Building Blocks" of early childhood, schooling, health, economic participation, healthy homes, safe communities and governance and leadership (Council of Australian Governments (COAG), 2012).

2012: ABSTUDY taxable items include living allowances for students and apprentices over 16, additional assistance. Non-taxable items include living allowances for students and apprentices under 16; rent assistance; allowances for remote area, pharmaceuticals, incidentals, fares, school fees, relocation, thesis, lawful custody; Away From Base entitlement, Pensioner Education Supplement, Commonwealth supported places assistance, Masters and Doctorate course fees; Commonwealth, relocation and student start-up scholarships; lump sum additional assistance; crisis payment (Australia. Department of Industry Innovation Science Research and Tertiary Education, 2011).

2012: Review of higher education access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Final report was released. The report builds on the Bradley Review which identified the need to address access and outcomes in higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Behrendt et al., 2012).

2013-: Abbott Liberal/National Party Coalition in power. Changes to government responsibilities include the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet establishing control of some Indigenous education support programs and policies, and the transfer of higher education to the Department of Education.

State and territory government Indigenous education policies

Australian Capital Territory

2006: ACT Department of Education and Training, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategic Plan 2006–09 introduced.

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

New South Wales

1982: NSW Aboriginal Education Policy. The first inclusive policy, developed in consultation with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (NSW AECG) and the NSW Teachers Federation. The policy recommended the inclusion of Aboriginal perspectives into the curriculum; the development of Aboriginal Studies units; consultation and participation with Aboriginal communities; and opportunities for Aboriginal children to "experience success in school life" (NSW Department of School Education. Aboriginal Education Unit, 1982).

1987: NSW Aboriginal Education Policy made mandatory in all schools.

1996: Revised NSW Aboriginal Education Policy focused on three main themes, with a broader scope that all students, schools and staff in the Department of School Education: "promoting the educational achievements of Aboriginal students…to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal students…enhancing the knowledge and understanding of all students about Aboriginal Australia", and recommended compulsory Aboriginal education units in pre-service teacher training (NSW Department of School Education. Aboriginal Education Unit, 1996).

2008: Revised NSW Aboriginal Education Policy, following a 2004 review. This revision focuses on better Aboriginal student outcomes; collaborative decision-making with Aboriginal communities; providing Aboriginal cultural education and competencies for all staff, and Aboriginal education for all students. It further broadens its scope to include TAFE, community education and pre-schools.

2009: NSW Aboriginal education and training strategy, 2009-2012 sets targets, focus areas, strategies and outcomes for the 2009 revised Aboriginal Education Policy (NSW Aboriginal Education and Training Directorate, 2009b).

Northern Territory

1972: Bilingual education in the NT began as a Federal Labor initiative a few hours after Gough Whitlam's government had been elected.

1979 – 1985: NT Aboriginal education policy was the responsibility of the Superintendent, Aboriginal Education Policy.

1986: Two separate Superintendent Aboriginal Education positions were created, one for schools in Darwin and surroundings, and one for Alice Springs and surroundings.

1990: Aboriginal education policy was incorporated into the Schools Policy area.

1998: The Country Liberal Party made a decision to withdraw the Bilingual Education program.  Although this policy was challenged the number of schools offering bilingual education began to reduce.

1999: the Aboriginal Education Branch was created following two reviews. The branch was renamed the Indigenous Education Branch, in relation to the new peak body, the Indigenous Education Council of the Northern Territory.

1999: NT Department of Education released Learning lessons: An independent review of indigenous education in the Northern Territory.

2000: NT Indigenous Education Strategic Plan 2000-2004

2005: NT government announced bilingual education was back on the government's agenda.

2006: NT Indigenous Education Strategic Plan 2006-2009 endorsed bilingual education for the next  5 years.

2008: Minister for Education and Training announced that all schooling in Northern Territory schools was to be conducted in English only for the first four hours of every school day, as a response to poor NAPLAN performance of students in remote schools with bilingual programs (Australian Broadcasting Corporation Four Corners, 2009).

2010: NT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan (2010-2014) was released.

2013: The Northern Territory government commissioned a review of Indigenous Education (Northern Territory Department of Education and Children's Services, 2013).


2000: Department of Education. Review of education and employment programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Education Queensland

2008: Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) launched the QSA Australian Indigenous languages policy

2009: Indigenous education strategic directions 2009–2012

South Australia

2005: Department of Education and Children's Services, DECS Aboriginal Strategy 2005-2010

2012: South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Aboriginal Education Strategy 2012-2016


2010: Closing the Gap on Aboriginal Education Outcomes 2010–2014: a strategy for Aboriginal student success through school improvement


1990: Partnership in Education: Koorie Education Policy prepared by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Victoria (DEECD) and the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI).

2001: Yalca: A Partnership in Education and Training for the New Millennium.

2008: Wannik: Education strategy for Koorie students

Western Australia

2001: Aboriginal Education and Training, WA DET, Creating the vision 2001-2004: Aboriginal education strategy (A strategy for the accelerated education outcomes for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders).

2011: Aboriginal Education Plan for WA Public Schools 2011-2014

School leaving age

Leaving age is set by state and territory governments. Most were set at 15 or 16 until changes shown below.

2006: Queensland : "students are required to participate in 'learning or earning' for two years after completing compulsory schooling, or until they turn 17 or until they attain a Senior Secondary Certificate or a Certificate III (or higher) vocational qualification".

2007: South Australia - students who have turned 16 are required to remain at school or undertake an approved learning program until they turn 17 or gain a Senior Secondary Certificate or equivalent or a Certificate II (or higher) vocational qualification.

2008: Western Australia, Tasmania - students are required to remain at school or undertake an approved combination of training and employment until the end of the year in which they turn 17.

2010: NSW, ACT, Victoria, Northern Territory - school leaving age increased to 17 through participation in a combination of fulltime education, training or employment.

2010: The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a Compact with Young Australians which included the implementation of a National Youth Participation Requirement from 1 January 2010. This includes a mandatory requirement for all young people to participate in schooling until they complete Year 10 and participate full time in education, training or employment, or a combination of these activities, until the age of 17 (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2011).