Prime Minister Tony Abbott went on a unique school bus in Arnhem Land today.

He says school attendance is pivotal to his plan to improve conditions in indigenous communities.

Alex Trezise reports.


This is the walking school bus in the Nhulunbuy community.

The bus went door-to-door, encouraging kids to join the trip to school.

This morning, Tony Abbott and his Education Minister joined the anti-truancy push.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “Well obviously the kids do need to go to school, and if getting to school means walking the streets with a loud hailer, then it’s an innovative way of making sure that it happens.”

Christopher Pyne, Education Minister: “I think that this would certainly get me to school if people walked past my house and shouted at me with a loud hailer.”

The Government wants to see a dramatic lift in school attendances, across all indigenous communities.

Already 73 communities have Attendance Officers and more are planned.

The drop in truancy in the Northern Territory this year was initially encouraging.

In term one the attendance rate increased 9%.

But in term 2, that dropped back to 5.5%.

Today marks the half-way point of the Prime Minister’s week-long stay in Arnhem Land.

Alex Trezise, QUT News.