On Country programs

The Queensland Government announced a pilot of On Country programs in Cairns, Mount Isa and Townsville in March 2020 to focus on 10 to 17-year-old offenders and those with high and complex needs. The government has committed about $5.6 million in funding to pilot the programs.

The announcement came after petitions and proposals from communities across North Queensland for On Country services were received by the government during a Community Cabinet meeting in Mt Isa in November 2019.

The pilot programs will be delivered and designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations and will offer an immersive On Country experience and intensive case work support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people referred to the program over a period of time of 6 to 8 weeks.

International and domestic literature suggests that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designed and led justice programs consistently outperform those that are externally developed, significantly reducing the rate of offending.

On Country programs aim to:

  • reduce rates of offending and reoffending
  • strengthen young people’s cultural and spiritual connections to land, sea and sky – Country – through the active efforts and participation of local community leaders, Elders and Traditional Owners
  • strengthen family relationships and connections with the community while promoting positive self-identity
  • re-engage young people with education, training and employment
  • refer young people and families to other support services in the local community.

Tender process

Request for Quote was released on Tuesday 5 May 2020 seeking offers from:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations
  • majority Indigenous owned businesses.

The release of the Request for Quote will be arranged through QTenders and requires all suppliers to be registered on the QTenders website.