State Parliament has passed laws to extend the Cape York Welfare Reform Trial for a further 12 months.

The Family Responsibilities Commission and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 passed today in State Parliament will see the trial extended to 1 January 2013.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Curtis Pitt said the trial results so far have been encouraging.

“Positive changes are being reported in the far north Queensland communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge,” he said.

“There has been an increase in school attendance, along with decreased levels of violence and improved economic and living conditions.

“The number of residents voluntarily seeking services, including voluntary income management, has also increased.

“The trial has also seen the creation of 555 Student Education Trust accounts, enabling families to put money aside for their children’s educational needs.

“The next 12 months will provide the opportunity for an independent evaluation of the trial, and we’ll be seeking further improvements in these communities during this period.”

Mr Pitt said elders, respected persons and Local Commissioners have all worked hard with Commissioner David Glasgow to restore local Indigenous authority.

“I want to thank all Local Commissioners, along with mayors and councillors, justice groups and other community leaders for the contribution they’ve made to supporting the objectives of the trial,” he said

“Together, they’ve all worked with their communities to get local families on track for a brighter future.

“There’s still more work to be done, and the Bligh Government will continue to work with the trial communities to make stronger and more resilient families.”