Aurukun is situated in the Western Region of Cape York. It is one of the larger communities in the Cape with approximately 1300 people of which almost 1200 are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people belonging to twenty families from 13 tribal groups.
"Aurukun" was derived from an Aboriginal word associated with a large lagoon on the Watson River, south of the town.
Aurukun is one of the four Cape York Welfare Reform sites. Cape York Welfare Reform was originally a four year trial (2008 – 2012) that aimed to rebuild social norms through welfare reforms, education and economic opportunities. Still continuing today, partners in the trial are the Australian and Queensland Governments and the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership. Local Program Offices coordinate local implementation of the Cape York Welfare Reforms and each office comprises employees from Australian and Queensland Governments, Cape York Partnerships and a local community member.
Aurukun is also one of the six priority Queensland sites identified by the Council of Australian Governments Remote Service Delivery (RSD) National Partnership Agreement.
The Remote Service Delivery model, which also encompasses Cape York Welfare Reform initiatives, focuses on reforming the way government agencies work together in remote areas, to improve coordination and collaboration across all levels of government with each community.
Aurukun, derived from the Aboriginal word for large lagoon