Australia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.3 Intercultural education

Australia’s primary intercultural education policy is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Plan.  The Plan, released in June 2011, commits all governments in Australia to a unified approach to closing the gap in education outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

The Action Plan was developed by the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs as part of the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG’s) reform agenda to improve life outcomes for all Indigenous Australians.  The Council took wide-ranging advice from key stakeholders and from a submission process that yielded over 100 submissions. 

Commonwealth, state and territory governments have all committed to the 55 actions detailed in the Action Plan and have committed to substantial structural and innovative reforms in early childhood education and schooling.

The six priority areas for the Plan are:


  • Readiness for school
  • Engagement and connections
  • Attendance
  • Literacy and numeracy
  • Leadership, quality teaching and workforce development
  • Pathways to real post-school options.

A number of the actions under the Action Plan will be undertaken by a key group of schools called focus schools, which support Indigenous primary school students with the greatest need and where the greatest difference can be made.

The Action Plan will be evaluated throughout its life, and the evaluation will be taken into consideration when developing recommendations around next steps in achieving the Plan’s desired outcomes. 

Chapter published: 27-12-2013