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The opposition has criticised the cost of a publicly-funded Queensland project which aims to help young Indigenous people.


Opposition education spokesman Bruce Flegg said The Families Responsibilities Commission is failing to meet its targets of restoring social norms.

He added the project – which is set to end in January 2012 – is a drain on tax payer’s money.

The programme costs $7,000 per person and operates in the Cape York communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge.

It aims to help remedy lifestyle issues and decide whether Centrelink should manage a portion of people’s welfare payments.

Dr Flegg says school attendance rates remain at about half to 60 per cent, there are serious issues with service delivery and there’s a dramatic escalation of violence and mental health issues over the summer holidays.

“My question is, who’s going to take responsibility for this large amount of taxpayer money … and quite measurable outcomes that don’t stack up?”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Curtis Pitt rejected the suggestion the programme wasn’t working and said the statistics didn’t tell the whole story.

Mr Pitt said the FRC was helping one family at a time, and the parliamentary estimates committee had heard anecdotal evidence of progress, such as parents walking their children to school and sitting with them in classes to encourage attendance rates.

“These are the things you won’t find in the report, but these are things that are making a difference on the ground,” he said.

He added the difficulties of setting up the initiative had never been underestimated.


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