Top-tier firms advise on effort to aid indigenous children

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MinterEllison and King & Wood Mallesons have led on Queensland’s first-ever social benefit bond (SBB), which aims to reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Islander children in out-of-home care.

Minters is acting for UnitingCare Queensland, a long-standing client, and fielded a team led by partner John Elias. He was supported by legal consultant Gillian Brown, special counsel Kathryn Finlayson, and lawyer Penny Robinson. KWM advised the Queensland Treasury with a team led by banking and finance partner John Eagleton, who specialises in capital markets and social impact transactions.

Under the deal, UnitingCare Queensland is raising private capital in collaboration with Social Ventures Australia via the issue of the SBB. The bonds issue, expected to be conducted this June, will fund the establishment of the New Parent Information Network (NEWPIN) Queensland program in three locations across the state.

UnitingCare Queensland, which will provide intensive therapeutic support service under the NEWPIN program, has agreed to an outcomes-focused arrangement with the Queensland Treasury. Payment will increase based on the number of children successfully reunited with their families after placement in out-of-home care.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are nine times more likely to be subject to protective orders than non-indigenous children, so developing alternative pathways for our most vulnerable Queenslanders is a high priority for our government,” said Curtis Pitt, Queensland treasurer.

About 200 families are expected to be referred by the government across the three centres that will be established. The first centre will open in Cairns with two more for both urban and regional locations in the state.

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