Back in 2008, the Queensland and Federal Governments, and the Cape York Institute for Policy & Leadership, introduced the Cape York Welfare Reform program in four communities – Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge.
The idea was to find locally informed ways to address social dysfunction, alcohol abuse and behavioural problems – and the central agency in this program is the Family Responsibilities Commission.
Its job is to support the restoration of socially responsible standards of behaviour and to assist community members to resume and maintain primary responsibility for their well-being. It’s generally agreed the program has made a difference for the better, but it’s unclear how much longer the two governments will fund it.
In Coen, local people want to see the reform program continue, not just because it’s made a difference – they say it has also created new opportunities.
Billy Pratt has a role with the FRC – and as you’ll hear, he also has a lot of other roles in Coenl: with the indigenous cultural centre, the indigenous ranger group, the local school – as well as a full time job with the Shire Council, for which he won a Mayoral Achievement award in 2006.
Billy Pratt talks about life in Coen and his hopes for the future of his community.
Raising kids is no easy thing – they don’t come with an instruction manual – so parents, especially first time parents, need advice, help, support. In the big cities, there’s plenty of that to be found – but in small remote communities, not so much.
Tahnee Creek is a young indigenous woman helping parents in Coen support and care for their young children. She’s passionate about helping families, and about education. Tahnee is the local child and family support services co-ordinator.
Tahnee talks about her work and the importance of education in remote indigenous communities.