Port Augusta’s Paula Allen flew to Canberra this month for a specially designed Economic and Social Policy Summit hosted by the Australian Treasury.
Paula is one of 10 student’s from around Australia who attended the inaugural event through the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s ‘Follow The Dream’ program, partnered by BHP.
During the week-long Summit, students learnt the ins and outs of the Treasury’s role within the federal government and each student was paired with several mentors from Treasury who provided support throughout.
As a year 10 student, Paula took the opportunity to explore potential career pathways in government, tour parliamentary institutions and visit local landmarks.
“At the start of the Summit I had no idea what I wanted to do in the future, but this week has really inspired me and helped me see that I have heaps of exciting options,” Paula said.
“We met lots of interesting people who have motivated me to push myself harder to be successful.
“I am considering applying to join the Treasury once I have finished my studies as it seems like such a fantastic career opportunity.”
During a tour of Parliament House, students also heard about how Treasury interfaces with parliament and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have influenced parliamentary process.
Another highlight of the Summit was an excursion to the High Court to learn about the national significance of decisions made here, including the Mabo Case.
In between debating hot policy issues and touring parliamentary buildings, students visited the National Museum of Australia to explore the ancient and recent experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, learn about the Stolen Generation, and experiment with Indigenous tools.
Secretary to the Treasury Philip Gaetjens said the new partnership between the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and the Treasury would provide important opportunities for Aboriginal students.
“We called this Summit Gadi Mura – a Ngunnawal expression for pathways,” Mr Gaetjens explained.
“We wanted to make this experience a pathway for students to understand more about what Treasury does, and learn more about Canberra and its institutions.
“We also hope that the students will be inspired to follow public policy and join the public service in a professional role.”