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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Government receives Cape York Institute welfare report

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, today received a report from the Cape York Institute about tackling welfare dependency in Indigenous communities.

Mr Brough said the report – From Hand Out to Hand Up: Cape York Welfare Project– was spearheaded by Aboriginal activist Noel Pearson in partnership with the remote Indigenous communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge in the Cape.

"In late 2005, Noel Pearson and the Institute approached the Howard Government with a proposal to radically change the way welfare was administered to remote Indigenous communities in the Cape.

"The Institute told us that the mainstream welfare system was not benefiting Indigenous communities, in fact, it told us that welfare offered these communities little more than a pathway to lifelong dependency."

Mr Brough said the Howard Government provided $3 million to the Institute in 2006 to work with communities to find better ways to assist Indigenous people.

"We agreed that the absolute priority was the welfare of children and dealing with the causes of child neglect and abuse.

"Communities want changes that ensure parents are held to account for the education and care for their children and incentives created for young people to aspire to a future which gives them choices and opportunity for the future."

Mr Brough said the Government would closely examine the report

"This is a high quality report which is ambitious and wide ranging and I congratulate the Institute for its work and thank the communities for their involvement," Mr Brough said.