Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Income Management Trial to Help Protect Children in Western Australia

Working in partnership with the Western Australian Government, the Australian Government will provide an $18.9 million package to implement income management and financial literacy skills training, to help protect children in selected Western Australian communities from mid-2008.

This is the first trial making income management available as a tool for state child protection authorities in circumstances where a child may be at risk of neglect or being neglected. It will potentially affect up to 1000 parents.

This measure is a key part of the National Child Protection Framework, an election commitment of the Rudd Government.

The Australian Government is committed to a child-centred approach to family policy. Practical measures such as income management ensure that welfare payments are spent in the best interests of children.

The WA Department for Child Protection will be able to refer families to Centrelink for income management. A portion of an individual’s income support and family payments will be redirected to the family’s priority needs, such as food, clothing and shelter for their children.

The WA income management trial will inform the future roll out of income management to other areas.

Funding for this measure includes $1.5 million in 2008-09 for financial literacy and training services. These services are designed to help parents subject to income management to deal with immediate financial difficulties and build skills to better manage their finances and provide for their children in the long term.

Equipping families with the skills to manage their income effectively will minimise the risk of those subject to income management becoming dependant on external support to manage their money. It will also boost the Government’s efforts to tackle social and economic disadvantage and provide the opportunity for children of low-income earners to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

Extensive evaluation will be conducted over the next 12 months to inform the Government’s evidence based approach to the wider introduction of income management measures.