Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Income management trial extended to include Peel region

The Australian Government is extending its trial of income management in Western Australia to include people living in the Peel region of Perth.

Income management helps to protect children and vulnerable people by ensuring that money is available for life essentials, and provides a budgeting tool to stabilise people’s circumstances, easing immediate financial stress.

The extension of child protection income management and voluntary income management to the Peel region is an expansion of the trial already underway across metropolitan Perth and the Kimberley region, in cooperation with the Western Australian Government.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said there are now more than 1,000 people on income management in Western Australia.

“At 14 October 2011, 1089 people in Western Australia were taking part in income management. 874 people were participating in voluntary income management, and 215 people had been referred under the child protection income management measure,” Ms Macklin said.

“The child protection income management measure gives the Western Australian Department for Child Protection the power to recommend to Centrelink that income support and family payments are quarantined to ensure welfare is spent in the interests of children.

“Seventy per cent of parents’ welfare payments are set aside to be spent on the necessities of life such as food, housing, utilities, clothing, and medical care,” Ms Macklin said.

The Member for Brand Gary Gray said income management trial has been operating in Western Australia since November 2008.

“A 2010 evaluation of people participating in the trial found most respondents said that income management had improved their lives and those of their families,” Mr Gray said.

“It also showed income management is helping to improve the lives of families in Western Australia by ensuring welfare is spent where it is intended – on the essentials of life and in the best interests of children.

“A majority of people surveyed said they had either already recommended income management to others, or intended to do so,” Mr Gray said.

The Australian Government invested an extra $17.9 million in the 2011-12 Budget to continue the trial of income management and financial management support services in Western Australia until 30 June 2012.