Welfare Reform

Our Agenda

In late 2007, the four Cape York communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge courageously put their hands up to be part of the radical and innovative Welfare Reform trial – which was proposed in the landmark From Hand Out to Hand Up, Volume 2 report.

Local leaders and community members were driven by the strong desire to rebuild the social and economic fabric of their communities which has declined over the past forty years largely due to passive welfare and widespread alcohol abuse.

A partnership between the Australian Government, the Queensland Government and Cape York regional organisations, Welfare Reform strives to build in individuals and families the capabilities to choose a life they have reason to value.

The objectives of Welfare Reform are to:

  • rebuild social norms and restore Indigenous authority
  • address the welfare pedestal through changing the incentives
  • support engagement in the real economy
  • move from welfare housing to home ownership
  • enable children to make full use of their talents and creativity and to enjoy the best of both worlds

Cape York Welfare Reform is making a real and lasting difference in the lives of Indigenous people. Local leaders and community members, involved in the design and implementation of Welfare Reform, are seeing community driven initiatives improve lives.

Our work falls into four broad and overlapping streams:

Our publications include:

  • From Hand Out to Hand Up
  • Cape York Welfare Reform Evaluation Report
    This report represents the final evaluation of the Cape York Welfare Reform trial. The report provides evidence from the range of evaluation activities conducted under the evaluation framework, and seeks to answer the key strategic evaluation questions for the trial about changes in social norms and behaviour. It reports on whether there are signs of progress or outcomes, what has worked, and where improvements may be needed. The scope of this evaluation includes the four-year period of implementation and modifications to projects between January 2008 and December 2011. Where it is readily available, data for the first half of 2012 has also been included. This independent evaluation has been conducted by a number of expert evaluators, and covers implementation, community views about social change, social norm change, service delivery, the Family Responsibilities Commission and the outcomes of the trial.