Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Voluntary income management expanded across Cape York Welfare Reform communities

Joint Media Release with:

  • Desley Boyle, Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships

Voluntary income management has been expanded across the four Cape York Welfare Reform communities to help people better manage their budgets to meet the costs of everyday essentials such as food, rent, clothing and utilities.

Currently 110 people are on conditional income management in Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge as part of a joint partnership between the Queensland and Australian Governments, and the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Desley Boyle, said that income management was helping to ensure welfare payments are spent in the interests of children.

‘Voluntary income management has been introduced to the Cape York for aged pension and carer recipients in response to people asking for assistance with managing their money,’ Ms Macklin said.

‘We are committed to progressively reforming the welfare and family payment system to fight passive welfare and foster personal responsibility.

‘The Australian and Queensland Governments are working with the four Cape York communities to rebuild social norms, and promote personal responsibility.’

The fifth quarterly Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) report was tabled in the Queensland Parliament today.

Ms Boyle said action has been taken to address key issues identified in the report in the areas of staff vacancies, gaps in some services and reporting and training.

‘Local Commissioners are continuing to develop as trusted authority figures who are guiding action on the ground to bring about real change,’ Ms Boyle said.

‘As part of this effort, the FRC will be delivering training to the Local Commissioners in 2010 as recommended in the report. The training will include mediation, advocacy and computer literacy and it will help build on their capacity to manage positive change.

‘I commend the Local Commissioners for their hard work – their role and leadership are critical to brining about real change in their communities and to the lives of residents.’

Ms Boyle said developing the protocols as well as holding whole-of-community meetings with service providers in early 2010 would also help improve understanding and cultural awareness.

Ms Macklin said the FRC plays an important role in identifying where services can be improved.

‘Governments are working with service providers and the FRC to improve service coordination and responsiveness,’ Ms Macklin said.

The report showed improvements in school attendance between Term 3 2008 and Term 3 2009, with increases at Aurukun (21.5 per cent), Coen (5.5 per cent) and Mossman Gorge (2.2 per cent). The Hope Vale community experienced a 6.7 per cent drop in attendance.

The FRC acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the Department of Education and Training and Attendance Case Managers to engage with parents and school aged children to ensure attendance.

Report highlights include:

  • 1113 agency notifications were received, 679 (61 per cent) of which were within the Commission’s jurisdiction;
  • 366 conferences were held in the four communities;
  • 71 client agreements and 39 directions to attend community support services were made;
  • 175 cases were referred to community service providers, including drug and alcohol and financial counselling;
  • 424 clients were being case managed at 30 September 2009; and
  • 41 income management orders were made.

View the Quarterly report (