The Morrison Government is investing a further $4 million to create more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to complete year 12 and access greater opportunities with accommodation at AFL Cape York House in Cairns.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, today announced the additional funding at the official opening of the AFL Cape York Girls House in Cairns.

The extra $4 million funding to both AFL Cape York Boys and Girls Houses will ensure they can continue their great work providing educational, employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from some of Far North Queensland’s most remote communities.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the Coalition has funded the Boys House since 2015 and will invest a further $1.75 million for the continuation of services at the Boys House, while a $2.25 million funding boost for the newly-built Girls House will enable an expansion of services.

“This investment is fully funded through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) and is part of the Morrison Governments $200 million Indigenous Youth Education Package announced in February this year. This investment in Indigenous students is possible due to the Morrison Governments strong economic management.

“The Girls House was built with the assistance of $12 million in funding from the Coalition. The modern facility provides a culturally appropriate, safe and secure place for up to 48 young women to live while attending quality secondary schools across the Cairns region.

“Unfortunately Labor and Bill Shorten cannot be trusted to continue the Coalition’s investment in vital educational opportunities across Australia,” Minister Scullion said today.

Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, said the LNP was backing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to pursue a quality education so they can achieve their full potential.

“AFL Cape York House for Girls is a demonstration of the Coalition’s commitment to breaking down barriers to education for Indigenous Australians,” Mr Entsch said.

“This incredible facility is the gold standard in supported accommodation helping young Indigenous women from remote areas and disadvantaged backgrounds gain new experiences and access opportunities that will prepare them for a successful future.

“An expanded facility will allow more young women to move from the bush to the city and open up new pathways not previously available to them.

“These facilities provide the very best of living and learning environments for young Indigenous students while they complete a quality secondary education in Cairns,” Mr Entsch said.

Since 2014 through the IAS the Liberal Nationals Government has invested over $400 million to support 25,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attend and complete school and is committing a further $200 million to support Indigenous education out of the IAS. This is in addition to Abstudy arrangements supporting families and facilities like Cape York House with the cost of travel from communities, accommodation and tuition.

This investment is being made out of existing funding within the $5.2 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy which is building safer communities, getting kids to school and creating new jobs for First Australians.