Abstract: The international criminology and social policy literature have long explored possible connections between social welfare and crime. However, existing studies tend towards high-level comparisons of crime versus total aggregate welfare spend, overlooking sub-national contextual differences between and within countries. There are also few studies that deeply explore this link in the Antipodes, including in Australia: a settler colony and (neo)liberal welfare state with a recent strong coupling of punitive social and penal policies that disproportionately impact Indigenous populations. This paper attends to these gaps by examining the welfare-crime link in remote Indigenous Queensland (Australia). We use crime-report data and an interrupted time series design to explore the effects of dynamic social welfare policies during 2020-2021: a period that saw a temporary shift away from a strict neoliberal welfare model (i.e., heavy conditionality, low benefit rates) to more supportive and decommodifying social welfare in response to the COVID-19 induced economic recession. Our findings align with previous studies that suggest more supportive and decommodifying policies are associated with lower crime. We also bring greater nuance to how the crime-welfare link is understood within the 'structural complexity of [Australian] settler colonialism' (Wolfe. Journal of Genocide Research. 2006;8:392), by illuminating how a politics of race animates social policies that can either produce or reduce criminogenic strains and, thus, socially construct crime in the image of the Indigenous 'Other'.