About the Commission

The Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008 (Qld) established the Family Responsibilities Commission which commenced operating on 1 July 2008. The Commission is an initiative of the partnership between the four Cape York communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge, the Queensland and Australian Governments and the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership.

The purpose of the Commission is to support the restoration of socially responsible standards of behaviour and to assist community members to resume and maintain primary responsibility for the wellbeing of their community and the individuals and families within their community.

The major objectives of the reform process are:

  • rebuilding norms
  • reform of incentives
  • normalisation of housing
  • normalising of Government responsibilities

The primary purpose of the welfare reform is not to take over responsibility for things that should normally be the responsibility of individuals or family, but to encourage and empower individuals and families to assume their responsibility for these social norms.

By establishing the Family Responsibilities Commission, the Queensland Government has demonstrated a clear commitment to trial innovative approaches in formulating and maintaining accountability mechanisms for communities.

The core objectives of the Family Responsibilities Commission (as an independent statutory authority assisting in the rebuilding of communities) are focused on safeguarding and restoring:

  • child safety (safeguarding the future generation)
  • school attendance (safeguarding education)
  • lawful behaviour (safeguarding the community)
  • responsible tenancy (restoring social accountability)

The FRC focuses on early intervention and the outcomes sought are clearly aligned with the goals of the wider criminal justice system - goals aimed at reducing drug addiction, violence, assorted crime, and child neglect in Indigenous communities. The FRC approach, however, is different to other justice strategies in that its focus is socially orientated with conferencing, case management, and support for the community in nurturing, protecting and educating the future generation. The FRC methodology is aimed at being proactive and collaborative.

In fulfilling the functions of the Commission, Commissioner Glasgow, the Local Commissioners in the community’s of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge, together with Commission staff:

  • listen to people and talk about their problems
  • rebuild and promote respect for local authority
  • outline community values and expected behaviours
  • determine appropriate actions to address dysfunctional behaviours
  • refer individuals to community support services
  • issue income management notices upon particular individuals so that a percentage of certain income support and family payments can be spent on priority goods and services such as food, housing, clothing, education and health care.

Primary to our support function is the strengthening of collaborative cross-agency and Government partnerships.