Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Income Management expanded across Perth

Income Management for Child Protection and Voluntary Income Management will be expanded across Perth to help families better manage their budgets to meet the costs of essential everyday goods such as food, rent, clothing and utilities.

Currently, more than 220 families across Western Australia have voluntarily signed up to income management agreements with Centrelink – using the measure to allocate funds for essentials and reduce household debt.

Over the next few months, Centrelink will offer this free and confidential service on a voluntary basis to people in Armadale and Gosnells, Fremantle, Spearwood and Rockingham and Morley, Warwick Grove and Innaloo.

The new service will become available in Armadale and Gosnells on 19 October, Fremantle, Spearwood and Rockingham on 16 November and Morley, Warwick Grove and Innaloo on 7 December.

Centrelink will also start rolling out the Income Management for Child Protection initiative across these districts in early 2010.

This initiative gives the Western Australian Department for Child Protection the power to recommend to Centrelink that a family’s income support and family payments be quarantined to be used for the benefit of children.

The safety of children is a national priority for the Australian Government. These initiatives form a crucial part of our child-centred approach to protecting children from child abuse and neglect.

Currently, more than 60 families across Western Australia have been referred onto income management by the Western Australian Department for Child Protection.

Income managed families will have up to 70 per cent of welfare payments and 100 per cent of lump sum payments quarantined for use on essential needs.

Income managed funds cannot be used to buy alcohol, tobacco, pornography or gambling products.

Income Management commenced in Cannington and in the Kimberley in November 2008, and was expanded across Perth’s northern and eastern suburbs in late April 2009.

Today’s announcement highlights the Australian Government’s active role in assisting families to budget for their needs to enable them to provide for themselves and their children.

Residents are encouraged to attend a community consultation session at their local Centrelink office to learn more about Voluntary Income Management.

Australian Government funded financial management support services will also be available in the new locations to support families who begin income management.

Families on income management will have access to the BasicsCard for the purchase of day-to-day items, such as food and clothing and direct-debit arrangements will be used for major expenses, including rent and utility bills.

The Australian Government has committed $18.9 million over two years for the trial, which will be evaluated to provide evidence for the Government’s broader welfare reform agenda.

For more information on the Centrelink Community Consultation Sessions, call the Centrelink Income Management Line on 132 594.

Centrelink Community Consultation Sessions
Location Date Time Session 1 Time Session 2
Armadale Wednesday 21 October 10.00am – 11.00am 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Fremantle Tuesday 17 November 10.00am – 11.00am 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Rockingham Thursday 19 November 10.00am – 11.00am 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Innaloo Wednesday 9 December 10.00am – 11.00am 2.00pm – 3.00pm