Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Income management for Laverton and Ngaanyatjarra Lands

From 15 April this year, the Australian Government will introduce income management in Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, including Kiwirrkurra, in Western Australia, to help families ensure their welfare payments are spent in the best interests of children.

Income management ensures that money is available for life’s essentials, and provides a tool to stabilise people’s circumstances and ease immediate financial stress.

The Government consulted with Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands communities throughout October 2012, and the vast majority of residents strongly supported the introduction of income management.

Residents told us that income management would help them better manage their finances, ensuring there is enough money for essentials, such as food, housing, clothing and blankets, as well as to save for more expensive items.

The introduction of income management will be an important tool to help families in Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands budget in the best interests of their children.

Minister Macklin announced funding today of $273,000 for the Western Australian Police for a new mobile police facility that will help to disrupt drug trafficking and make the community safer.

Based in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, the 4WD Remote Mobile Police Facility will contain drug and alcohol testing equipment, video facilities for interviews and short-term custodial care.

It will act as a mobile police station, enabling police to spend more time in remote communities and complementing efforts through the permanent police presence in three of the Ngaanyatjarra communities.

Western Australian Police will also use the facility to attend community sporting carnivals and events and hold preventative roadshows, in particular for drug and domestic violence preventative initiatives.

The Australian Government wants to help vulnerable families build a better future for themselves and their children and break the cycle of disadvantage.

The model of income management that will be rolled out in Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands is similar to the one that has been operating in several sites across Australia. Those sites include the APY Lands and Playford in South Australia, and parts of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.

Across those sites, more than 2000 people are now participating in income management, most of them volunteers.

We know that income management is helping people get their lives in order, with independent evaluations finding that most participants thought income management had improved their lives and those of their families.

All people in Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands will also soon have access to free and confidential financial management program services to help with their budgeting.

From 15 April, in Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, income management will apply to:

  • people referred for income management by state child protection authorities where children are being neglected or are at risk,
  • people assessed by Centrelink social workers as being vulnerable to factors including financial crisis, which could include people who are at risk of homelessness due to rental arrears, and
  • people who volunteer for income management.

For people who volunteer for income management and those who are assessed by social workers as being vulnerable, 50 per cent of their welfare payments will be set aside for necessities. Under child protection income management, 70 per cent of parents’ welfare payments will be set aside to be spent on necessities.

Centrelink will be working with stores across the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and Laverton to ensure that people can use their income managed funds at local stores. Several stores in the area already accept the BasicsCard and there are more than 1000 BasicsCard approved stores across Western Australia.