Church negotiating with Govt on NT Catholic schools

With criticism mounting over the number of Indigenous students missing out on high school education, Sydney Cardinal George Pell says the Church is negotiating with the Federal Government to open a school at Wadeye Aboriginal community and could open more.

"We've got something to offer," Cardinal Pell told the ABC. "We've got religious ethos, we've got a moral framework as well as providing a very good education."

He says Catholic schools do not put much strain on the public purse.

"We put in, on average 20 or 30 per cent, sometimes more, of the recurrent costs and half the capital costs right across the nation," he said.

"That amounts to tens of millions of dollars every year."

Cardinal Pell says residents in the Territory are just as important as people anywhere else in Australia.

But he says the funding would need to be right and any expansion would have to have the support of Territory Church leaders.

"I'm very much in favour of that provided we've got funding to do it properly," he said.

"I know that'd be the only basis on which the Catholic Education Office would want to go forward."

Rugby League's Cowboys support Indigenous Sporting Academy

In another story, The World of Rugby League reports that North Queensland Toyota Cowboys player, Brenton Bowen, has launched an Indigenous Sporting Academy, a $20 million federally funded initiative, the first of its kind for secondary students of Catholic colleges in North Queensland.

The Townsville Indigenous Sporting Academy is part of the Federal Government's four year Sporting Chance Program.

The program will be centrally coordinated through the NRL's Training and Development unit in Sydney and managed locally by Mr Bowen, through the Townsville Catholic Education Office, who successfully secured the project.

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys CEO, Peter Parr, said the organisation is pleased to partner with Catholic Education who has secured the opportunity for the North's senior Indigenous students.

"The Cowboys have always had strong relationships with Catholic Education and NASCA and this partnership only strengthens those ties", Peter Parr said.

Deputy Chairman of the NQ Toyota Cowboys and JCU School of Education Lecturer Paul Travis describes the program as one of the most innovative of its type in Australia.

Townsville Catholic Education Office Director, Dr Cathy Day, said the project is part of the organisation's commitment to Indigenous education.

"The emphasis is to use sport to motivate students to achieve at school and open doors to future opportunities," said Dr Day.

Pell keen to provide more Catholic schooling to NT (ABC News, 25/3/07)
Bowen launches Indigenous sports academy (The World of Rugby League, 25/3/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cowboys website

26 Mar 2007

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