Clarence Valley Council mayor Richie Williamson.
Clarence Valley Council mayor Richie Williamson. Adam Hourigan

Valley’s Indigenous overlooked in federal funding

CLARENCE Valley Council Mayor Richie Williamson has been left confused and said it was a "real shame" that the the region's Indigenous youth had been overlooked by the Federal Government in the final round of their HIPPY grants.

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is a program accessible to all young people, but specialising in Indigenous youths, aged from birth to four years old which enables parents and external carers to act as their child's first teacher at home in preparation for schooling.

Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison said the final round of HIPPY funding, announced this week, had been completed at the end of 2014.

"The 25 additional Indigenous-focused locations selected for HIPPY program delivery in 2015 are the final locations in the government's expansion," Mr Morrison said.

"I am advised Grafton and Clarence Valley were considered but did not meet the full criteria."

The failure to meet the criteria has left community members baffled including Cr Williamson who admitted he had no idea how we failed to meet it.

"It would appear in the second round of funding the Clarence and widely the Northern Rivers have been overlooked," Cr Williamson said. "But I am unaware of why.

"We are champions for youth services and we have seen in the recent past a number of those services miss out on funding.

"We have a great number of Indigenous youth in the Valley who need steps toward education and it is an issue that should not be overlooked."

Cr Williamson said he, along with other members of the council, would be keeping a close eye on today's State Budget tabling in hopes Valley youth programs may receive vital funding boosts.

"We'll be watching the budget announcements closely like everyone else," he said. "To see what might and might not be included.

"There has been a number of youth programs that had their funding dry up at the end of last year so it will be good to see if they get a bit more juice."

Goonellabah was the only North Coast area funded by the program.



 A minimum population of 100 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander 0-4 year olds

 A strong need for an early childhood program

 A not-for-profit program provider who will deliver the program or the ability to source a suitable provider

 The ability of the community to participate in the program in line with the HIPPY model

 Strong community support for HIPPY

 Factors that may influence the success and sustainability of HIPPY delivery in the community

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