Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

More opportunities for youth in indigenous communities

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Entsch, Federal Member for Leichhardt

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, and Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, announced today a funding package of $132,770 for the Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (QPCYWA).

The three-year funding will be used for My Way, a project developed by QPCYWA to encourage at-risk adolescents in the remote indigenous communities of Hopevale and Wujal Wujal, to become involved in sport, recreation and cultural activities.

“The project aims to provide opportunities for young people to develop a stronger sense of their own power, purpose, worth and promise through participation in planned programs to improve their quality of life,” Senator Patterson said.

“The project will also encourage these young people to develop socially, emotionally and physically.”

Senator Patterson said the project will create opportunities for young people to develop a greater awareness of their strengths and their community responsibilities.

“They will be involved in designing activities that engage their diverse talents, skills and interests, building on their strengths and involving them in planning and decision-making,” she said.

The project is funded under the Family and Community Network Initiative (FCNI), which focuses on strengthening communities through family and community networks, improving access to information and delivering initiatives with a focus on local solutions to local problems. The Australian Government has committed a total of nearly $6 million over three years (from 2003-04 to 2005-06) to the FCNI.

Senator Patterson said she believed additional benefits of the project would be a reduction in the incidence of youth suicide, crime and criminal recidivism.

“These are major, debilitating issues for youth in indigenous communities and this project has great potential to turn around the life chances of a group of vulnerable young people,” she said.

“I am confident My Way, with the support of the QPCYWA, local police and community organisations, will go a long way toward increasing the self-confidence, self-esteem and participation of adolescents in Hopevale and Wujal Wujal.”