Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Income management extended in four NT communities

Income management will be extended in four Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) communities – Mutitjulu, Finke/Apatula, Titjikala and Imanpa – for up to 12 months.

These NT communities were the first four to be placed on income management on 17 September 2007.

Income management is an important measure for ensuring welfare payments are spent in the interests of children and is a key plank of the Government’s strategy to strengthen community safety and improve the protection of children.

Income management ensures half of welfare payments are used to buy essential items.

The Government will liaise with all members of the communities prior to the extension taking place from the 10 September 2008.

A recent survey of 20 NTER licensed stores has found that more healthy food has been purchased and more money has been spent on the needs of children as a result of income management measures.

The survey shows that sales of cigarettes have approximately halved and customers are also saving for the purchase of whitegoods, such as fridges, so they can store fresh food as home.

Store operators have also reported that there is less cash circulating, residents have more control over their money and the incidence of ‘humbugging’ for goods or cash has dropped.

Income management provides better financial security for many mothers, grandmothers and other community members to feed and raise their children.

The Government has commissioned a review of the NTER, which is due to report back on the 30 September 2008.

The review board, chaired by Peter Yu, will conduct an independent and transparent review of the NTER to assess what is working, whether the measures are effective and their impact to date on individuals and communities.

Promoting economic participation, improving health and education outcomes and better engaging Indigenous people in developing solutions are key to the Government’s plan for closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.