Ten Aboriginal students from across the nation travelled to Canberra this month to participate in a week-long Economic and Social Policy Summit.
The ‘Gadi Mura’ summit, hosted in mid-January, was organised through a partnership between the Australian Treasury and the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation.
The summit was designed with the intent to provide opportunities for Aboriginal students with interest in social studies, economics and mathematics.
Students enrolled in schools who partner with the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation or ‘Follow the Dream’ applied with an expression of interest and finalists were selected by both Treasury and Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation officials.
A spokesperson from the Australian Treasury stated that the program focused on raising the interest of Indigenous students about working in Treasury and public policy.
“The students definitely changed their perceptions about the Treasury and its role, and their desire for careers within government. Many students found the sessions inspiring and, as a result, grew in confidence during their visit.”
“To open career pathway options for the students was always the goal, and to have them actively considering the public service as an option for the future validated the thinking behind our summit,” the spokesperson said.
Students learnt about the Treasury’s influence on key matters of policy, budgetary decisions and the influence the Australian Treasury has on everyday life and mentors imparted stories of their journey to a political career and helped students identify personal interests and passions within the Treasury.
Perth student Rebekah Delaney, who is in her final year at school and an avid supporter of the Follow the Dream program, said the Economic and Social Policy Summit was a fantastic opportunity.
“It was fantastic to have access to such a high-level government workplace. I really enjoyed hearing the personal stories of our mentors at the Treasury who have motivated me to work hard to achieve my goals.” Miss Delaney said.
The program encouraged the students to engage with Aboriginal history, with visits to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy at Old Parliament House, the High Court of Australia where the Mabo Case was heard, and the National Museum of Australia.
By Rachael Knowles