In my community on Brisbane's Southside, we have some of Australia's most iconic arts and cultural institutions. One I am particularly proud of is the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts at Kangaroo Point. Mr Deputy Speaker, knowing your interest in such matters, I welcome you to visit yourself as a fellow Queenslander. The Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts has a vision of becoming the Indigenous NIDA. This incredible arts and cultural training centre was established in 1997 by the Queensland government and is now the largest centre for training of Indigenous artists in Australia. The centre has grown from 56 students in 2008 to 88 students in 2011, an increase of 56 per cent. Last year, 90 young Indigenous artists were enrolled in their programs, and they are forecasting 130 students to be enrolled by 2016. This terrific organisation provides training and employment pathways through nationally accredited educational courses in the performing arts, including dance, music, acting and song.
I recently visited the students, teachers and staff of the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts, ACPA, to see first-hand how these programs are making a difference in the lives of young Indigenous students. These eager young students have come from right across Queensland and New South Wales. Some have just come off communities in the Cape, from regional towns interstate and from urban centres closer to Brisbane. A high proportion of students come from disadvantaged families.
As part of their training, the centre provides specialised support programs that include accommodation, pastoral care, mentoring, numeracy and literacy programs and academic support. In addition, 20 per cent of their training each week is dedicated to the promotion and development of their traditional arts and cultural awareness under the guidance of community recognised and respected elders and cultural staff. This type of training and support is unique to the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts. ACPA is a first-class Queensland and Australian institution.
We are in fact creating something quite new here. I believe that part of the future of Australian identity will increasingly be not just the great traditions we have inherited from our Anglo-Saxon past—the notion of the independence of laws, the Westminster system and parliamentary elections—but also at a much broader cultural level. I believe that there is a very creative fusion underway at a cultural level, led by our Indigenous brothers and sisters, who are becoming part and parcel of the new international cultural identity that we call Australia. Some of Australia's greatest artistic endeavours now form in the international art world the view of a modern, creative, Australian art movement—led by Indigenous Australians. Think of Emily's, for example.
The students from ACPA have performed right across the country and overseas, including in New York. With incredible training and employment outcomes, and a dedicated bunch of teachers, staff and support groups, I commend this institution to the House's attention and to the government's future support.