Brough backs Pearson's welfare overhaul call

Brough backs Pearson’s welfare overhaul call

The federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough, says a report recommending a radical overhaul of Indigenous welfare reflects his criticism of the system.

Mr Pearson, the director of the Cape York Land Council, has handed to the Government the report calling for welfare payments to Aboriginal people to be conditional on behaviour.

The report has been produced by the Cape York Institute and suggests welfare payments be stripped if children miss school or are neglected.

Mr Brough says that system has started on a voluntary basis in at least one Indigenous community.

But he says the states and territories need to give it their support.

“We [are in] agreement with the principles that are in here and are actively engaged with the states on things such as no school, having your welfare payment quarantined and also in line with neglect of children,” he said.

“We are having further discussion on further broadening those aspects.”

Mr Pearson says passive welfare has all but destroyed his community.

“It breaks down the will to take responsibility for one’s own livelihood, to chase better opportunities and better income for your children,” he said.

“It takes the vigour and vitality out of individual striving.

“It takes the hunger out of a search for a better life.

“It also is ripe for being co-opted by addictions.”

He says mutual responsibility is vital to a healthy community.

“I come from a community where I’ve seen the effect of welfare take a strong and resilient and responsible people from a position where, had the doors of opportunity been open, I believe our people would’ve been sailing,” he said.



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