Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Brighter Future for Hope Vale

“An Agreement signed in Hope Vale today will provide far reaching benefits for the entire community,” Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

The agreement was signed by the Minister, Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council and the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership

“This agreement is based on welfare reform and family income management; housing reform and economic development.

“It is a tribute to the leadership of the Hope Vale community and the Cape York Institute that this agreement has been put in place in only a few weeks since my initial discussions with them.

“This reflects the determination of the community and its leaders to take action to build a better future for themselves and their kids.”

Mr Brough said a business precinct would be established in Hope Vale and the Government would support local people to establish businesses.

“There are already qualified tradespeople living in the town and this will give them an opportunity to operate their own business and, in the future, create job opportunities for other members of the community,” Mr Brough said.

“Any town in Australia the size of Hope Vale would have a dozen or even 20 thriving businesses, providing services the community wants and needs and creating jobs. At last Hope Vale will have this as well.”

The Minister said home ownership would now be possible as a result of the Council’s decision to purchase freehold land adjacent to the town.

“The Howard Government will develop and service 40 blocks and establish a display home on the Millers Block site and assist families purchase homes through low cost loans from Indigenous Business Australia,” the Minister said.

“Families who want to buy houses will participate in Family Income Management (FIM) , a scheme successfully operating in the Cape to help people manage their money to achieve their goals, whether they are home ownership, purchase of major appliances or, as in one case, take an overseas holiday.

“Normal tenancy arrangements will be applied to public housing. Under individual agreements with families, they’ll undertake to be part of FIM and pay market rent. They’ll also agree to maintain and improve homes through a Pride of Place Program. These families will be provided with funds for external and internal work they undertake to improve their houses.

“This is all part of the Hope Vale community’s own desire to end the era of passive welfare in their town.

“As Minister for Indigenous Affairs, I will do everything I can to support any community that independently determines it wants to work with us and others to build a better future for themselves and their kids.

“Most importantly, no one in the Hope Vale community will be forced into anything they don’t want. Participation is voluntary.

“I am confident that together, the Howard Government, the Hope Vale Council and the Cape York Institute are creating new hope for Hope Vale.”