Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Rollout of Income Management to Aboriginal Town Camps in Darwin, Palmerston and Adelaide River

The Rudd Government will today commence quarantining welfare payments in town camps in Darwin, Palmerston and Adelaide River and the Belyuen community as part of its commitment to tackling Indigenous disadvantage.

Today’s actions expands income management measures across the Northern Territory (NT) and means that a total of 6,400 Centrelink customers in 25 communities and associated outstations and 3 groups of town camps will have welfare payments quarantined.

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

Today’s announcement means that approximately an extra 450 welfare recipients will have 50 per cent of their payments quarantined to ensure income is spent on essential items.

The Rudd Government is committed to income management as a critical element of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER).

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

Through income management, families in these town camps purchase essential items and services which will improve their children’s health and wellbeing.

During discussions with Centrelink staff, town camp members have indicated they want their income managed funds directed to rent, utilities, and store cards, which can be used throughout Darwin.

Early indicators show that an increased proportion of managed funds are being spent on food and that some community stores have noted an increase in fruit and vegetable turnover.

In Wallace Rockhole, the store is open much longer hours with a significant increase in turnover.

The Government is committed to making the NTER work in the interests of Indigenous children.

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.