Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Curtis Pitt has announced scholarships worth $1.6 million for 476 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Mr Pitt said the scholarships are about closing the gap in education between indigenous and non-indigenous Queenslanders.

“We established this program to increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Queenslanders completing Year 12,” he said.

“When the program commenced in 2009, it was reaching 300 students in 30 schools.

“This year it will reach 476 students in 72 schools across Queensland.

“It’s a growing program which is providing valuable opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

“Some of the students who have taken part in the program will be graduating soon and I want to wish them every success.”

QATSIF provides two-year scholarship funding to secondary schools across Queensland to support students, in order to increase retention rates. The first students supported under the program will graduate at the end of this year.

Minister Pitt said a higher education is the foundation for employment and better quality of life.

“As a Government, we’re very committed to closing the gap in education outcomes between indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders – that’s what these scholarships are all about,” he said.

“We also know that these scholarship recipients are getting important support from their families, schools and communities.

“I look forward hearing about their future successes in school, and beyond year 12.

For more information about QATSIF visit www.qatsif.org.au