The long-term future of employees of the Girls Academy program at Dubbo schools remains up in the air as the service is switched to a new provider.
The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) announced the results of an open tender process last week, and committed to funding the salaries of frontline staff in January while the transition took place.
WA-based Role Models and Leaders Australia (RMLA) had run the support for young women at Dubbo College's three campuses since 2017, but missed out in the latest round of funding.
Instead the NIAA announced Redfern-based National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) had been selected to run "girls academies services" at 13 sites with the federal funding, among them the Dubbo College campuses and Narromine High.
When asked if NASCA would retain the existing Girls Academy employees, NASCA chief executive officer Leanne Townsend said it was "not an easy question to answer" because "that's a promise made by NIAA around funding and contracts and employment law" that she had "no control over", and noted the staff members' contracts were with another entity.
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Ms Townsend said she did not yet have the resourcing her organisation would receive, so she could not make a commitment.
"As I say, our values [are] to be authentic and honest, so at this stage I can't make any promises around that, because it wouldn't be responsible of me to do that," she said.
"Certainly we recognise excellence and want to retain people who show that excellence, but legitimately I don't know if I'll have the same equivalent money that the previous provider had, so clearly I can't make a promise around that, because I don't have a contract in front of me either.
"So we will do our best, is all I can say, but I can't guarantee, it's implausible for me to guarantee anything."
The program aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls with their studies, improve Year 12 graduation rates, and provide pathways to successfully transition into work or further study.
By mid-2019, Girls Academy reported there were a total of 223 students participating in the program across the three college campuses.
Ms Townsend said Aboriginal not-for-profit NASCA had worked at Dubbo College and Narromine High for eight years until four years ago.
"Change doesn't necessarily mean something to be afraid of, or that it's a bad thing, and there's a lot of positives we see that we can bring to only enhance what successes had already been achieved there," Ms Townsend said.
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