I sign with Cindy Berwick, President of NSW CETA, and I would like to thank Cindy for her commitment to Indigenous students and families. I know they are always at the center of your thinking. Cindy`s advocacy and motivation has been key to getting us to where we are today – ready to sign a new agreement. In developing the new agreement, we are building on a well-established and already strong partnership. I will now ask Ms. Cindy Berwick, President of CETA New South Wales, and Mr. Mark Scott, Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Education, to sign the partnership agreement, with Minister Sarah Mitchell to sign the agreement as a witness. On Friday, this goal took a step forward when a new partnership agreement was signed between the New South Wales Department of Education and the New South Wales Indigenous Education Advisory Group. It is a great pleasure to be here and a great privilege to be part of such an important event – the signing of the partnership agreement between NSW CETA and the department for another ten years. The crucial importance of this partnership cannot be underestimated. It gives us the opportunity to listen and hear the voices of our Indigenous communities and our Indigenous students, our leaders of the future.
Through this agreement, we will walk together and work together as equal partners in a journey that will support Indigenous students and communities now and in the future.” NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. 37 Cavendish Street Stanmore NSW 2048 Tel: 02 9550 5666 Fax: 02 9550 3361 Web: www.aecg.nsw.edu.au Our partnership is not new. This agreement builds on a very close relationship that the department already has with NSW CETA. With this agreement, we now have clear expectations for building relationships with Indigenous students, Indigenous families and communities, and the people of NSW CETA. The partnership agreement is a significant document, and it is also a beautiful document. I want to thank artist Wallula Bethell of the Gamilaraay Nation for the artwork included in the agreement. The work reflects the diversity of our students and the strength of our future, our footprints symbolize how we will walk and work together throughout our journey. After being invited to present this today, it made me think back to my school years and their deep connection to this partnership agreement. In this reflection, I realized that I am well placed to talk about it, as my school experience clearly shows how important a school`s true commitment to the agreement is and how it allows a school to have a positive impact on our Aboriginal youth.
My goal is not to name and shame one school against each other, but rather to talk about my school experience to try to explain what I think is the heart of this partnership agreement. I started my high school years in a school that talked about Aboriginal education and where there were legitimate attempts to meet the needs of Aboriginal students, but as we hear too often, these were only symbolic gestures. Soon after, my family, including my cousins and brothers, moved to a nearby high school that had a good reputation for its commitment to Indigenous education, and very quickly it became clear that this was a place I belonged to. The agreement was signed for today`s virtual launch by Cindy Berwick, President of NSW CETAexternal link, and Mark Scott, Secretary of NSW`s Department of Education, in the presence of Minister Mitchell. Indigenous education in New South Wales public schools will be strengthened under a new partnership agreement signed this week between the New South Wales Department of Education and the New South Wales Indigenous Education Advisory Group (NSW CETA). Today we all come together for a very special occasion – the signing of a renewed agreement between the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the NSW Government. I am very pleased to be here today as a witness and extend my warmest congratulations and greetings to each and every one of you who are participating in this event today. We all have a direct responsibility for the lives and futures of Indigenous students in New South Wales Public Schools. By working together, we will strive to ensure that every Indigenous child and youth in New South Wales reaches their potential through education. This new partnership agreement will serve as a guideline for a clear ten-year plan with a thorough reporting obligation. I believe that this ongoing partnership is the key to a successful common future.
Like all partnerships, open and robust discussions often lead to the best results. If we take the time to listen to each other and learn from each other, as we did when we developed this agreement, we can be confident that our partnership will continue to thrive and succeed. There was rigorous and healthy debate during these consultation sessions. .