Expressions for the Intensive On Country trial now open
Expressions of interest for a new Intensive On Country trial have opened on 21 February 2024. This is a new initative that is different, but informed by and builds on the existing On Country program.
Applications close at 2pm (AEST), 12 March 2024.
Intensive On Country program – expressions of interest
The Queensland Government are trialling a new Intensive On Country program. The new trial will provide a longer residential cultural program that expands on the learnings from the current On Country program.
The trial will deliver a wider range of supports to young people and their families to deal with a range of needs that contribute to offending including mental and physical health, substance misuse, relationship with social media and accessing accommodation.
Expressions of interest are being sought from organisations and individuals that can provide property or a program that includes education, employment, training or other support to deliver the trial. Services will be delivered by or in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations.
In March 2020, the Queensland Government announced a pilot of the On Country program. The program focuses on young people who are:
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
- aged 10 to 17 years old
- repeat offenders with high and complex needs.
The pilot sites are:
- Mount Isa
The announcement came after petitions and proposals from communities across North Queensland for On Country services. The government committed about $5.6 million over 4 years to pilot the program.
International and domestic literature suggests that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designed and led justice programs consistently outperform those that are externally developed.
The program aims to:
- reduce rates of offending and reoffending
- strengthen young people's cultural and spiritual connections to land, sea and sky 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.
The local pilots are designed and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations. They offer an immersive On Country experience and intensive case work support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
On Country is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. The length of the response is dependent on need and may include:
- On Country camps
- cultural activities.
Referrals are made by:
- Youth Justice officers
- Queensland Police Service
- young people's families.
Contracts to deliver the pilot program were awarded after an open tender process. The program will be delivered by:
- Cairns – Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation
- Mount Isa – Mona Aboriginal Corporation
- Townsville - Gr8Motive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation.