The nurturing and mentoring of future Cape York leaders is essential to creating a vibrant and prosperous Cape York Indigenous community. Passive welfare has seen non-Indigenous ‘fixers’ of Indigenous problems hold all the responsibility and power, while Indigenous people have had responsibility and power stripped away.

Our work to support Cape York leaders is vital to turning this usual Indigenous/non-Indigenous relationship on its head.

Our efforts to support Cape York Indigenous leaders include:

  • The Cape York Leaders Program
  • The employment of local Indigenous O-Hub Leaders to provide local leadership and restore local Indigenous authority
  • Through the Family Responsibilities Commission and the work of its local Indigenous Commissioners

A key goal of the Cape York Leaders Program is to nurture natural leadership qualities in our future leaders, and equip them with the capabilities to participate in the real economy.  In line with the Cape York Agenda, the Cape York Leaders Program provides its members with the opportunities to orbit between two worlds.

Family Responsibilities Commission under Cape York Welfare Reform

The Indigenous Commissioners lead very honest, robust conversations during the FRC conferencing process. They challenge people about their behaviour; they encourage and support them to take up opportunities and make fundamental changes in their lives so that children get to school more often and families manage their money.

Under the Cape York Welfare Reform trial, the Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) has played an important role in building Indigenous responsibility and leadership through the role of its local Indigenous Commissioners. The twin objectives of the Family Responsibilities Commission are to restore local Indigenous authority and positive social norms.

Family Responsibilities Commission Indigenous Commissioners send a consistent message about the expected behaviour of individuals, families and households, and determine appropriate actions to address dysfunctional behaviour. They have taken a clear stand against the drinking, violence, child abuse and other dysfunctional behaviours plaguing their communities.

Sometimes the Commissioners make the hard decision that maximum pressure must be brought to bear on an individual to encourage change, and conditional income management orders are made. The Indigenous Commissioners are able to hold other local people to account in a way that has not been demonstrated through other initiatives, and in a way that cannot be done by any non-Indigenous outsider.