Issue 7 - January 2017 Posted: Monday 23 January 2017

Innovative campaign to encourage school attendance

It’s a new year, the holidays are over and for Queensland state school students it’s back to the classroom on 23 January. It’s vitally important to ensure good school attendance habits are developed from day one.

Research shows that school attendance leads to positive student outcomes and can help children build social and emotional skills. When children go to school every day they engage better, make friends, and have a brighter future. For this reason, the Department of Education and Training has a range of free resources to promote the importance of going to school. Although this is a serious message, the materials communicate with students in a fun, entertaining way.

The Every day counts campaign features popular Indigenous footy players, including Johnathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday and Greg Inglis. Resources include an animation, comic book, dedicated website and online posters of the footy players.

The entertaining animation features Jimmy, a student with many excuses for not attending school each day. Jimmy’s journey through the day highlights the importance of regular school attendance, with Sam Thaiday’s narration as the character of Jimmy’s cheeky and insightful dog, aptly named Sam, providing plenty of humorous moments.

The campaign underwent extensive consultation, including with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Brisbane, Cairns/Yarrabah, Weipa/Napranum, and students from Solid Pathways, which is a state schools’ program for high achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Make school attendance a habit

A set routine can help students get to school every day.

Help them develop good habits by ensuring they:

  • have set hours during the week for going to bed and waking up each day
  • organise their uniform and school bag the night before
  • regularly eat breakfast at the same time each day
  • set a time for daily homework activities.

What can parents and guardians do? Support students in developing their good school habits, and speak positively about school.

Finally, you may need to be firm: send your child to school every day including their birthday and the last day of term!

Pre-Kindy health checks available now

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children starting kindy in 2017 can now get their free pre-Kindy health check at South East Queensland Aboriginal Medical Services.

Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders of all ages are encouraged to have a health check at least once every year, LaToya Enoch, a Family Support Worker with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) Mums and Bubs program, says that pre-Kindy health checks are especially important for children aged 3 and 4.

“Children learn heaps at day-care, kindy and school, so picking up early on anything that might stop them from learning and reaching their full potential is really important,” LaToya says. “We make sure our children are up to date with their immunisations and that their speech, hearing and vision is at their appropriate age level and that they are ready to start school without any delays. We can also organise access to any other services they might need to help them get ready for Kindy, like appointments with the paediatrician, the occupational therapist, the speech therapist or audiologist.”

Making sure any potential issues are dealt with early is also a key focus for Professor Sue Kruske, Regional Manager of Child and Maternal Health Services at IUIH.

“At a pre-Kindy health check we do a general health check including an eye check and an ear check. We also ask parents and carers about development milestones, so we can make sure we are looking at what kids should be achieving at each particular age,” she said. “We know that at this age if kids have a small problem in one area it can have a big impact. So for example, if a child has an ear infection it can affect their speech. And we know if they can’t communicate well they’re more likely to have behavioural issues and have trouble paying attention at school. As a result, they don’t learn well, and they really feel that. So it’s a really big impact and what is really important is that we pick up and treat that hearing problem before they start school and before any of those other issues have a chance to develop.”

Free pre-Kindy health checks are available at all IUIH member clinics, and can be done either before or after you have enrolled in Kindy.

Indigenous communities can receive up to $330 worth of electricity power cards

Save money with power cards

Residents living in some discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities use power cards to add credit to their electricity meter. These householders are now being urged to take advantage of Ergon Energy’s free power cards to assist in their electricity costs.

Eligible householders could receive $330 per year in free power cards through the Queensland Government Electricity Rebate.

To be eligible you must have your energy running through a power card meter and you must have 1 of the following cards:

  • Pensioner Concession card
  • Health Care Card*
  • Queensland Seniors Card
  • Veterans’ Affairs Gold card

To apply, call Ergon Energy on 1800 850 451 (charges may apply if calling from a mobile phone) or find out more information about the Queensland Government Electricity Rebate.

Make sure you have your concession card number and your power meter number handy when applying. Your power meter number is an 8-digit number on the bottom, or right-hand side, of your meter.

Ergon Energy sends out power cards to approved applicants 4 times a year in January, April, July and October with a total amount of $330. Only 1 person per household can receive the cards.

*Health Care Card holders are eligible from 1 January 2017. If you have a Health Care Card, you can contact Ergon Energy to apply to receive the concession after 1 April 2017, which will be back dated to 1 January 2017.

Nominate a digital champion

Do you know a digital champion who wants to help others benefit from the digital world?

We’re calling for nominations to be part of the Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions program. Nominees will be outstanding individuals who are positive role models and want to give back to their communities by encouraging Queenslanders to be digitally-savvy. Nominees will be conducting activities or prepared to undertake activities that help improve Queensland’s digital literacy, digital adoption and digital innovation.

We're looking for:

  • inspiring individuals of any age or demographic
  • Queenslanders representing any industry or community group
  • champions who are keen to educate others to embrace digital technologies
  • people who will share their digital stories, experience and knowledge with others.

Champions will be profiled on our online community interactive hub. They'll be a part of a state-wide network of like-minded people keen to inspire others with their digital stories and learnings.

If you know someone who fits the bill, nominate them to join the program.

Extra time for Reparations Scheme claimants

Imagine working without knowing your wages, salary, or entitlements. Or being restricted from accessing and spending your money.

Not so long ago, this was the sad reality experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

From the late 19th century, and for the greater part of the 20th century, the Queensland Government exercised control over all aspects of the lives of Indigenous peoples who were subject to legislation now known as the ‘Protection Acts’, including control over their wages and savings.

Today the Queensland Government is ramping up efforts to help more eligible Indigenous Queenslanders access the $21 million Reparations Scheme as part of a reconciliation effort to acknowledge these past injustices.

It’s not too late to apply: the new application deadline is 29 September 2017. If you haven't applied under this scheme before, you're encouraged to do so by September.

In the past, people born after 1956 were not able to apply. Under this scheme, people born between 1957 and 1959 are now urged to apply. This age bracket alone is estimated to include 900 potential new claimants.

Several initiatives are in place to reach those who may not know they are eligible to apply, or may have difficulty applying, including:

  • prioritising elderly and seriously ill claimants to ensure their applications are processed swiftly
  • regional workshops and face-to-face support
  • establishing Queensland’s first dedicated Reparations Review Panel to help applicants without formal documentation by considering oral history as evidence.

To date, more than $7.9 million in reparations has been paid to more than 3500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

Have a yarn with your family and friends in case someone you know believes their wages or savings were controlled under the ‘Protection Acts’ and may be eligible.

For more information on the scheme free call 1800 619 505 or visit the Reparations website.

The benefits of scholarships

Semester 1 of university is fast approaching, now is the time to think about the opportunities and support available to you during your learning journey.

Scholarships are an excellent resource that can lessen the financial burden and allow students to focus more on their studies and careers. They have bridged the gap for numerous people to be able to have access to higher education.

Below are 2 scholarship opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

2017 Pearl Duncan Teaching Scholarships

The scholarships are named in honour of Pearl Duncan, an Aboriginal educator who has dedicated her life to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in education. They were developed by the department to assist aspiring teachers who identify as being an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person, to complete an initial preservice teacher education program and make a difference in education.

The scholarships provide financial assistance of up to $20,000 to assist with study and related expenses, and also offer an opportunity to secure permanent employment as a teacher in a Queensland state school after graduation.
For more information, including how to apply, visit Smart jobs and careers

2017 Lambert McBride Perpetual Bursary

The Lambert McBride Perpetual Bursary provides a one-off payment of $5,000 for a high achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student at a Queensland higher education institution in 2017. Applicants need to be commencing their second or third year of study in any field at a Queensland higher education institute. The bursary is named in honour of the late Lambert McBride – an Aboriginal advocate and lobbyist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights in Queensland. Mr McBride believed in the value of education for progress and encouraged the achievement of a good education.

For more information, including how to apply, visit Smart jobs and careers.

Please contact Michelle Lane, Project Officer, Organisational Transformation at scholarships@det.qld.gov.au or Susan Wareham, Principal Project Officer at susan.wareham@det.qld.gov.au if you would like to discuss these scholarships or need more information.

For more scholarship opportunities visit the Queensland Government website

Do you have an event or story you would like to profile?

Get in touch with us at communications@datsip.qld.gov.au and let us know what you’d like to see in the next edition. We also welcome your feedback on this edition of The Kookaburra.

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