Magazine article Impact

Compulsory Income Management: A Flawed Answer to a Complex Issue

Magazine article Impact

Compulsory Income Management: A Flawed Answer to a Complex Issue

Article excerpt

Despite strong lobbying by ACOSS and the community sector, the Federal Government's expanded compulsory income management scheme was passed by the majority parties in the Senate in late June 2010.

One of the biggest reforms to social security reforms in decades, income management fundamentally changes the way social security benefits are paid. Starting in the Northern Territory, it will apply in blanket fashion to entire categories of recipients in regions nominated by the Minister.

The legislation has been passed in the absence of adequate public debate or consultation with those directly affected, and with the relevant national community organisations. ACOSS, along with many of our members, is greatly concerned that the costly scheme will stigmatise people on social security payments. Over $4,000 will be spent every year on each person being income management in the Northern Territory. We have been advocating for this money to be redirected into programs that will help people move into employment or training, or overcome disadvantage.

What are the alternatives to compulsory income management? There are alternatives to address the problems facing deeply disadvantaged communities, including many Aboriginal communities, and to reduce poverty and social exclusion more broadly. Out proposals respect human rights and are informed by evidence. ACOSS is calling on Government to:

* Withdraw the compulsory income management legislation and instead introduce a system of income management that people can opt into, on an individual or on a local community basis. …

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