Government Defends Income Management Scheme
23 June 2010 at 10:23 am
The Rudd Government has defended its income management scheme in the Northern Territory which is set to be rolled out nationally despite strong criticism from the welfare sector.
The Federal Government has released a report that indicates that nearly 60% of Government Business Managers (GBMs) working in Northern Territory Indigenous communities report that views towards income management have shifted favourably since June 2008.
The 2009 Survey of Government Business Managers relating to the Impact of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, conducted by TNS Social Research, measures the opinions of Government Business Managers in 62 Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) communities and five prescribed town camps.
GBMs reported that, in their view, women are the most favourably disposed towards income management (women with children 82 per cent and other women 64 per cent), followed by men with children (27 per cent).
The survey also shows that GBMs believed that 49 per cent of people had a favourable attitude towards income management, and 63 per cent of GBMs reported that food is available on a more regular basis.
It also found that 78 per cent of GBMs reported a positive change to shopping patterns and budgets.
The Government says the survey reveals that the majority of people believe the NTER has had a positive impact on community awareness of nutrition, health, child abuse, education and drug and alcohol related violence.
The Government Business Managers were asked to consider the level of change in the NTER communities since 2008.
The survey found:
- 32 per cent believe the level of violence has decreased;
- 24 per cent believe there has been a decrease in petrol sniffing;
- 65 per cent perceived a positive impact in accessing health and nutrition programs;
- 55 per cent perceived a positive impact in accessing police; and
- 52 per cent believed the NTER has had a positive impact on the provision of training opportunities.
The Rudd Government’s legislation which introduced major welfare reforms to extend the income management scheme and roll it out nationally, passed in the Senate on Monday 21st June.
Welfare umbrella group, the Australian Council of Social Service has described the blanket welfare reforms as a 'gamble' with disadvantaged communities.
ACOSS says it's deeply concerned the compulsory income management scheme will alienate people on income support and do little to assist people overcome social issues.