Cape York Welfare Reform

A new approach to welfare is being trialled in the Cape York communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale, and Mossman Gorge and associated outstations.

Cape York Welfare Reform is a partnership between the four communities, the Australian Government, the Queensland Government and the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership.

The reforms, which have been in place since 1 July 2008, aim to create incentives for individuals to engage in the real economy, reduce passivity and re-establish positive social norms.

The idea behind the reforms is that passive welfare dependence is damaging to individuals and communities and erodes personal responsibility and motivation.

Cape York Welfare Reform aims to restore social norms and local authority and change behaviours in response to chronic levels of welfare dependency, social dysfunction and economic exclusion across the four Cape York communities.

Under the reforms, an independent statutory body called the Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) has been established to help rebuild social norms in the four Cape York Welfare Reform communities. The FRC will send a consistent message about the expected behaviour of individuals, families and households and will determine appropriate actions to address dysfunctional behaviour. These may include referring individuals to support services and possibly income management.

Fifteen programs covering housing, education, social responsibility and economic opportunity are being rolled out as part of the reforms.

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