Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Release of income management evaluation framework

The Australian Government is today releasing the framework for the independent evaluation of the new model of non-discriminatory income management.

The Government has now rolled out the new model of non-discriminatory income management across the Northern Territory, including child protection income management. A voluntary income management and child protection income management pilot operates in Western Australia.

Future roll-out of the new model of income management beyond the Northern Territory will be informed by evidence gained from the independent evaluation.

The two-stage evaluation will run from now until 2014 and will provide a comprehensive assessment of both the initial impact of the program, and the impact several years later.

The evaluation will provide a series of annual research reports detailing the progress of the implementation of the new model of income management, with the final report in 2014.

The evaluation will include analysis of existing data on income management, as well as surveys of child protection staff, financial literacy service providers, and retailers. There will also be interviews and focus groups with people on income management.

To ensure the methodology is robust and comprehensive and the evaluation process is transparent, the framework was independently developed by researchers from the Australian National University, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

The methodology was shaped in consultation with a range of community and government stakeholders including the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Northern Territory Department of Health and Families and the Social Inclusion Board.

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

The new model of income management replaces the model of income management introduced as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, and is designed to be consistent with the Racial Discrimination Act.

The framework builds on the evaluation work already undertaken on income management in the Northern Territory in 2008 and in Western Australia last year.

A copy of the framework can be found at Evaluation Framework for New Income Management (NIM).