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$11m to improve Adult Literacy

Premier David Bartlett announced a new $11 million action plan for adult literacy.
“This is a massive investment in the future of our economy and our skills base.
“There is nothing more limiting for an adult than to have poor literacy skills.
“I want every Tasmanian to have the ability to get a job and have a decent quality of life.
“Increased workforce participation means increased productivity both of which are key drivers of our economy,” Mr Bartlett said.
“Adult literacy is an essential skill. This action plan will help adults with reading difficulties have more opportunities and do things most of us take for granted such as reading to our children.
“None of us wants a Tasmania where people miss out on participating fully in our wonderful lifestyle because they struggle to read.”
Speaking at the official opening of the Rosny Learning and Information Network Centre (LINC) today the Premier said the Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan aimed to address the high proportion of adult Tasmanians with low literacy skills.
“Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that around half of the Tasmanian population aged 15-74 lack the literacy skills needed to cope with the demands of everyday life and work,” Mr Bartlett said.
“Too many Tasmanians are missing the opportunities brought about by our changing economy because they lack basic literacy skills. This isn’t acceptable and it’s time to take action.
“The plan contains three major strategies for improving the literacy skills of Tasmanians. They are: the establishment of an informal community and workplace network of adult literacy support; setting up a state-wide team of literacy coordinators and volunteers, and, the development of key indicators to measure improvements in adult literacy support.  
“$6.6 million will be invested over four years to extend the Adult Literacy Coordinator network throughout Tasmania.
“Up to 16 extra Literacy Coordinators will be employed to bring together a trained team of volunteer tutors with training provided free of charge.
“The Action Plan will also provide a more coordinated approach to literacy support, bringing together LINCs, Child and Family Centres, Online Access Centres, Community Houses, the Tasmanian Polytechnic, Tasmanian Academy, Tasmanian Skills Institute and employers to create a state-wide network of access to literacy support.
Other key actions in the plan include:
•        The establishment of a $1 million a year Adult Literacy Investment Fund over four years to fund programs in workplaces and communities.
•        Providing additional literacy support to apprentices and trainees by extending the literacy and numeracy support program at the Tasmanian Skills Institute.
•        Providing more training in adult literacy support for Government frontline service staff
•        Working with the Australian Government on providing literacy support and training for job seekers.
•        Raising community awareness of adult literacy
•        Increasing literacy support available to inmates of the Tasmania Prison Service
“An Adult Literacy Coalition of community and industry groups and employers will monitor the Action Plan, progress will be measured against reports will be produced annually.
“The Plan builds on the State Government’s existing investment in literacy through initiatives like Launching Into Learning, Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap, Child and Family Centres and LINCs.
“LINCs are vibrant hubs for learning opportunities where local people can take the first steps into learning and develop new skills for living and work, including literacy skills.
“Following the success of Huon LINC the Government has committed $17.7 million to establish five new LINCs in regional communities as well as in urban centres like Rosny.
“LINCS bring together services like Online Access Centres, libraries, Adult Education and other learning and information organisations in an integrated service hub.
“Too many Tasmanian adults do not have strong literacy skills. I’m not prepared to let that stand and centres like the Rosny LINC can, will and are making a difference,” Mr Bartlett said.
The Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan is available at: