In August Deputy Commissioner Rod Curtin presented Stepping in to make a difference, at the Resilience Study Schools and Communities meeting in Cairns.

Before becoming the Deputy Commissioner of the Family Responsibilities Commission in 2010, Curtin worked as a Barrister-at-Law for three decades.

His work in remote Indigenous Communities of the Cape York Region, the Gulf Region of North West Queensland and also the Torres Straits continues as he advocates for the advancement of programs to provide improved resources and achieve better outcomes for Indigenous people who appear before the courts.

In his paper, Stepping in to make a difference, Curtin discusses why ‘commitment to education is possibly the most important issue facing remote Indigenous Australians over the next decade.’

The paper illustrates issues and pitfalls of working in the area of boarding school placement for schools and children in the community of Doomadgee.

‘The children of Doomadgee and many other communities have to board because there is no other way of attaining Year 12 or a similar TAFE based qualification,’ says Curtin.

‘These options simply don’t exist in remote communities and without the boarding school option students will never attain YEAR 12 qualifications or seek to obtain higher education or tertiary entrance.’

‘It’s time for governments, both state and federal, to stop buck passing and blaming each other and try and complete a few very important repair shifts together.’

Continue to read Curtin’s full speech, Stepping in to make a difference.


Deputy Commissioner Rod Curtin

Deputy Commissioner Rod Curtin was born and raised in Cairns and completed his secondary education at St Augustine’s College. He attained a Bachelor of Law degree through the Queensland University of Technology and was appointed a Barrister-at-Law to the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia in 1987.

Deputy Commissioner Curtin’s practice has been predominately in the jurisdictions of Family Law and Criminal Law. His experience has involved the conduct of circuits in the Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait regions for more than 25 years.

Over the years he has been called on to conduct many seminars and training sessions for students at James Cook University, the Department of Education and Family Court counsellors on family law and domestic violence issues.

Deputy Commissioner Curtin has also mentored young solicitors and field officers attached to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service.

Deputy Commissioner Curtin is passionate in the pursuit of access to justice services for Indigenous people. He advocates for the advancement of programs to provide better resources and achieve better outcomes for Indigenous people who appear before the courts.

Deputy Commissioner Curtin has been involved with the Cape York Peninsula Youth Justice Program and has been a strong advocate for Juvenile Justice issues. His service to the Indigenous communities has been acknowledged as dedicated and compassionate, having an in-depth knowledge of the cultural and social issues of people within those communities.

Rod Curtin was appointed to the role of Deputy Commissioner in July 2010 and advises that he thoroughly enjoys his role, the most rewarding aspect of which has been his association with the Local Commissioners. Their dedication and tireless persistence in striving toward creating a better community and setting a wonderful example for the next generation has been inspirational.

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