Welfare reform is one of DATSIP’s key initiatives. In the 2015-16 Budget, the Queensland Government committed $28.6 million over 4 years to extend the welfare reform initiative.
The welfare reform initiative focuses on restoring social norms and social responsibility while re-establishing local leadership and increasing economic participation. Much has already been achieved within the 5 welfare reform communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale, Doomadgee and Mossman Gorge.
The Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) is a key mechanism supporting the welfare reform program. It is an independent statutory body, established under the Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008 (the Act). The FRC operates to restore local authority and build stronger and more resilient communities by having the Family Responsibilities Commissioner and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Local Commissioners convene conferences with community members notified to the FRC for breaching a ‘trigger’ under the Act. Triggers include when a child does not attend school or is not enrolled, a person is convicted of a criminal offence, a child safety report is made, a domestic violence order is issued, or a breach of a tenancy arrangement occurs.
Through the welfare reform program, DATSIP has funded among other initiatives:
- the Aurukun Restorative Justice Program to increase the community’s capacity for local mediation
- a Parenting Program to support individuals to improve their parenting skills
- youth engagement and development activities in Doomadgee
- business development projects in support of increasing local employment opportunities.