The Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) Annual Report 2017-18, tabled today in Queensland Parliament, has shown progress in restoring local authority in the Welfare Reform communities of Aurukun, Coen, Doomadgee, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge over the last year.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said Local Commissioners had grown local capacity to encourage community members to take responsibility for their lives and families.
“In the last year, 72 per cent of conferences with community members were conducted by Local Commissioners independent of the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner,” the Deputy Premier said.
“This is almost double the result of the previous year and shows the strong capability of community leaders to identify community issues and respond to them locally.
“The Queensland Government values the role of the Local Commissioners in re-establishing local authority and decision making in the Welfare Reform communities.
“In the last year, they held 2,539 conferences to provide personalised support, and made 122 referrals to service providers for 107 clients.
“We will continue to support and build on the work done by the FRC Local Commissioners as part of the Queensland Government’s Local Thriving Communities reform agenda which is being led by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
“The reform comes in response to a Queensland Productivity Commission inquiry into service delivery in Queensland’s 19 remote and discrete communities, including the Welfare Reform communities.
“It also responds to requests from Mayors and other Indigenous leaders in these communities for better governance, economic opportunities, and greater community engagement in planning and delivery.
“The Local Thriving Communities agenda will be co-designed with remote and discrete community members, and will honour the role of communities in identifying their own priorities and solutions to issues.
“It will build on existing strengths, leverage local leadership and be delivered with a local emphasis, meaning that priorities and the way they are addressed may differ across communities.
“Stakeholders like the Local Commissioners will be critical to understanding existing support structures, and designing and delivering effective future plans that empower Queensland’s remote and discrete communities to thrive.
“Community engagement on the Welfare Reform program, including the FRC, and the co-design process for Local Thriving Communities reform will occur through 2019”.
The FRC is an independent statutory body, and is co-funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments.
The Queensland Government provided $2.37 million in funding to the FRC in the 2018-19 financial year.