Indigenous issues have become a priority at the first Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra.
By
Brooke Boney

Source:
NITV News
13 Dec 2013 - 5:02 PM  UPDATED 13 Dec 2013 - 5:43 PM

Ministers from each state and territory met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra today for the Council of Australian Governments meeting.

Prime Minister Abbot made it clear that Indigenous school attendance rates and policing in small communities would be at the top of his agenda.

"Indigenous issues will be a standing item for the Council of Australian Governments as long as I am prime minister. There's great enthusiasm among chief ministers and premiers for more work to get much better practical outcomes for Indigenous people in this country,” Mr Abbott said.

The council have agreed to introduce truancy officers and keep income management for parents who don't send their children to school.

"Really if there's any child who is routinely absent from school, at the level of the school and if possible at the level of the authorities, that's something that needs to be dealt with," Mr Abbott said.

The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Adam Giles, said he wanted to see attendance levels rise above 90 per cent.

"We are working with the prime minister and Minister Scullion on a joint basis to see what measures we can put in place to work to encourage greater school attendance, to remove disincentives but also put in place punitive measures to encourage parents to send their kids to school," Mr Giles said.

There is also a plan to establish a permanent police presence in more communities.