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 in the development of this agreement, we can be confident that our partnership will continue to prosper and succeed. During these consultation meetings, rigorous and healthy discussions were held. It is this shared passion and a common goal to improve results for each of our 65,000 Aboriginal students in NSW Public Schools that created this new partnership agreement. It is an expression of solidarity and our common vision for the next ten years. After being invited to present it today, it led me to reflect on my schooling and its deep connection to this partnership agreement. In this reflection, I realized that I was well placed to talk about it, because my school experience shows how important the true commitment of a school is with the agreement and how it allows a school to have a positive impact on our Aboriginal youth. My goal is not to name and shame a school, but to talk about my school experience to try to explain what I think is at the heart of this partnership agreement. I started my high school years in a school that talked about Aboriginal education, where there were legitimate attempts to meet the needs of Aboriginal students, but as we hear too often, they are symbolic gestures. Soon after, my family, including my cousins and brothers, moved to a nearby high school with a good reputation for their commitment to Aboriginal education, and very quickly it became clear that it was a place where I had my place.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the key to the agreement is to ensure that every child and youth in NSW can realize their potential. The partnership aims to ensure that every Aboriginal child and child in NSW reaches its potential through education. I will introduce Jock Clenton, President of Muru Bulbi Junior AECG and current Grade 12 student at Gorokan High School, to present the youth speech. I sign with Cindy Berwick, President of NSW AECG, and I want to thank Cindy for her commitment to Aboriginal students and families. I know they are always at the center of your thinking. Cindy`s entry and will were decisive in getting us to where we are today – ready to sign a new agreement. To develop the new agreement, we are looking to a well-established and already strong partnership. Hastings Secondary College has signed a partnership agreement with hastings AECG that constitutes a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation. 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 It is a great pleasure to be here and be part of such an important event – the signing of the partnership agreement between NSWECG 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 Aboriginal communities and Our Aboriginal students, our leaders of the future. Through this agreement, we will move together and, as equal partners, we will work together on a journey that will support Aboriginal students and communities today and in the future. The partnership agreement is a useful document and it is also a beautiful document. I would like to thank the artist Wallula Bethell of the Gamilaraay Nation for the artwork contained 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 during our journey.

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