Media Release by The Hon Christian Porter MP

Helping Doomadgee’s kids get to school

Local commissioners in the far north Queensland community of Doomadgee will have an extra tool to help families get their kids to school, with the introduction of income management from 11 April.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the introduction of income management in Doomadgee coincides with the start of the school term and gives the Family Responsibilities Commission extra powers to help increase school attendance in the region.

“Local commissioners play an important role in meeting with families and referring them to appropriate services, such as income management, to achieve behavioral change and to reinforce community standards around school attendance,” Mr Porter said.

“Income management helps to ensure welfare recipients use their payments for essential needs rather than harming themselves and their communities with spending on alcohol, tobacco, pornography and gambling.”

Mr Porter said the Commission would be able to offer tailored support to ensure that welfare payments are directed toward necessities and stabilising family and community life.

“Introducing this initiative when school starts emphasises the importance of getting kids to school and of the obligation on parents to ensure it happens,” Mr Porter said.

“This is particularly important for Doomadgee where 40 per cent of the population of 3000 people are children under 14 years old.

“Given the high proportion of young people in Doomadgee, it is vital that we act to break the cycle characterised by high levels of disengaged youth, long-term unemployment, and high prison admissions.”

Income management in Doomadgee will be demand driven and based on the numbers of families that the Family Responsibilities Commission identify as requiring assistance.

Income management has been an important mechanism for the Family Responsibilities Commission in other far north Queensland communities participating in the Cape York Welfare Reform, including Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge.