$9m boost enables more scholarships

Not-for-profit Aboriginal education organisation Madalah has been able to boost the number of scholarships on offer this year thanks to a $9.3 million Federal Government funding boost.

Chief executive officer Phil Paul said the WA-based organisation was able to provide 200 scholarships to students studying at mostly secondary schools but also some tertiary institutions.

It came after Mr Paul and Madalah chairman, former WA Health Minister Dr Kim Hames, met with Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion last year.

The organisation’s regular funding was increased to $9.3 million over three years from $1.4 million over two-and-a-half years. It also received $2 million in Referendum 50 Year Anniversary funding.

Private companies, such as oil and gas producer Woodside, are also sponsoring some scholarships and Madalah holds an annual ball to raise funds.

“We’re glad Mr Scullion listened to our pleas for more funding,” Mr Paul said.

Dr Hames joined the Madalah board last year, saying schooling may hold the key to ‘Closing the Gap’.

He sought meetings with Mr Scullion after the organisation’s funding fell to about a half of what it was four years ago.

Madalah provides scholarships for Indigenous students from remote areas to complete secondary and tertiary studies or traineeships and also provides accommodation and support in the state’s north-west to help Indigenous people move into the workforce.

The scholarship program has been running since 2009. Eleven of WA’s top private schools are involved.

Meanwhile, a sexual health and life skills program for young Aboriginal people in WA has been given a funding boost of more than $500,000

The WA government, through its health promotion arm Healthway, has committed $514,654 to the state-wide Mooditj program, which is aimed at 11-14-year-olds.

The grant will be used to expand the program.



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