Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Curtis Pitt, says the Newman Government has changed its tune on the Cape York welfare reform trial.

“Minister Glen Elmes has already decided to end the trial even though he is on the record in State Parliament lauding it on several occasions,” Mr Pitt said.

“He has also directly linked his decision to the outcome of the federal election, which raises doubts about his motives.

“I certainly hope he does not intend to make this issue a political football in coming months.”

Mr Pitt said it was difficult to comment on the evaluation report until it was released publicly.

“I also understand that Mr Elmes may have a draft report and is basing his comments on that,” he said.

“It would be better if he waited for the final report before starting to make decisions.”

Minister Glen Elmes in Parliament, November 2012:

“[In June 2012 DATSIMA] undertook stakeholder and community consultations in Cairns, Brisbane and the four trial communities … These consultations demonstrated there is widespread support for the continuation of the Family Responsibility Commissioner for 12 months and for the continuation of key programs associated with the trial.”

“There is a commonly held view that the trial is having a positive effect on the behaviour of community members, with more children going to school and communities being quieter than before the trial commences. This was especially the case in Mossman Gorge”.

“The trial has been regarded by many as a key driver for improved school attendance and school readiness in the communities.”

“Even without the evaluation, I feel safe in saying this trial has been important in the way it has expanded the normal range of services to see what better results can be achieved.”

“The last thing I was to see is that the trial ends in a year and we lose the legacy of what has been achieved.”