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Government Defends Income Management Scheme

23 June 2010 at 10:23 am
Lina Caneva
The Rudd Government has defended its income management scheme in the Northern Territory

Lina Caneva | 23 June 2010 at 10:23 am


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.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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  • hopeleft says:

    I think it’s stunning that the Government has chosen to survey Government Business Managers as opposed to Aboriginal people themselves – can’t Aboriginal people speak for themselves, or do they need a Protector or Welfare Board to speak for them? Many people will think that these survey results mean that Aboriginal women support income management and Aboriginal men don’t. In fact it just provides proof of deeply held assumptions by GBMs about Aboriginal men.
    I have found Aboriginal women to be the most outspoken about income management because they are often the ones who have nothing to feed their kids when the BASICs card machines don’t work. In addition, the quarantined payments can’t be used for rent or bills, so if you’re in debt or rent stress, rent money is taken away from you to pay for food and clothes. It strips people of their dignity and regardless of GBM surveys, there is no proof that it works.
    My only hope is that many non-Aboriginal people who didn’t pay attention when intervention measures didn’t affect them will now suddenly be paying attention that they are personally affected, and maybe lead in a change of attitudes towards Aboriginal people.

  • Carol Vale says:

    It is inconceivable that a Government with a ‘social inclusion’ agenda introduces such a punitive welfare reform based on the ‘opinion’ of Government Business Managers who ‘believe’ and ‘perceive’ that it will be effective ! There is no evidence that this reform works . It is simply an invasion of Human Rights.

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