MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:33:54): I wish to update the house on the Wurreker Awards and Indigenous language courses. Recently I had the pleasure of attending my third Wurreker Awards at the Aborigines Advancement League. The awards are an annual event hosted by the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc., VAEAI, celebrating the people and organisations who contribute to Koori training, education and employment. The evening began with a touching Welcome to Country by Aunty Di Kerr, who noted the importance of the Aborigines Advancement League as a place of community, particularly on that day following the passing of Aunty Dot Peters. We then had an outstanding performance by the One Fire Aboriginal Dance Company, and they were absolutely fantastic. And then of course the awards were presented. In each category all of the finalists were so deserving of the recognition. There were winners such as TAFE Gippsland, who were awarded the Innovative Koorie Learner Pathways TAFE Award for the important work their Koori unit in Bairnsdale is doing for local communities. While at the awards I had the opportunity to announce that we have added certificates III and IV in learning an endangered Aboriginal language to the funded course list. This means that student fees will be subsidised, making the course affordable for more people to enrol in. We are also providing the first cohort of graduates of the certificate III with a scholarship to continue on to the certificate IV. We are so proud of the work Aboriginal Victorians are involved in to revitalise and promote their own languages. This initiative also complements our government’s work to increase the number of students in kindergartens and schools learning Aboriginal languages. I take this opportunity to congratulate all award recipients, and I look forward to attending the 17th annual awards next year.
Tags: Ministers Statement