Macquarie Bank Foundation and Cape York Institute enter partnership to further indigenous education

06 December 2005

The Macquarie Bank Foundation has entered a three-year partnership to support the Cape York Institute's Higher Expectations Program, which aims to encourage students in remote indigenous communities to pursue tertiary education.

In this major education partnership, the Foundation will contribute almost $1 million to the program, enabling Cape York students to attend select Queensland boarding schools and giving them a greater chance to qualify for university entry.

Macquarie Bank Foundation Board Director, Hon. Warwick Smith, said Higher Expectations was an innovative program that sought over time to build a self-sufficient Cape York economy and community.

"The Cape York Institute is known for its bold initiatives and its philosophy of empowerment is consistent with the Macquarie Bank Foundation's approach to community support," he said.

Cape York Institute Director Noel Pearson said 18 students would take part in the Higher Expectations Program next year, attending schools in Brisbane, Townsville, Rockhampton and Cairns.

"This is an important investment in the Cape York community, where as few as 6 per cent of students complete Year 12," Mr Pearson said.

"Indigenous students will not realise they are capable of attending university unless they are placed in an environment where university attendance is expected and presumed."

In addition to funding tuition costs, the partnership will enable Higher Expectations Program staff to work closely with families, communities and participating schools to support the students involved.

The partnership also means that funds currently committed to the Higher Expectations Program can now be directed to other indigenous education, employment and community service initiatives run by the Institute.

In addition, the partnership will explore avenues for involving Macquarie's Queensland staff as student mentors, volunteers and fundraisers for the Higher Expectations Program.

The Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership is a significant partnership between the people of Cape York, Federal and Queensland Governments and Griffith University. It was established in July 2004 to champion reform and innovation in indigenous and social welfare policies.

It focuses on key issues affecting indigenous communities, including economic development, governance, welfare reform, substance abuse, education reform and indigenous leadership.

The Macquarie Bank Foundation has provided support to community programs for more than 35 years and currently contributes more than $4.5 million a year to about 250 not-for-profit organisations.

The Foundation supports a range of indigenous initiatives, such as:

  • CrocFest, a sister event to the Rock Eisteddfod, held in remote communities
  • An indigenous scholarship at the Australian Film Television and Radio School
  • Money $tory, a program run by the Fred Hollows Foundation to enhance financial literacy in indigenous communities
  • Talent-spotting workshops for the National Aboriginal & Islander Skills Developent Association (NAISDA), Australia's premier training institution for indigenous dancers.

For further information, please contact:

Karen Boalch
Communications Manager
Macquarie Bank Foundation
Tel: (02) 8232 7339

Melodie Potts
Cape York Institute
Tel: (07) 4051 4444

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