Income Management under the Intervention

My blog has plenty of links to “The Intervention” or the Northern Territory Emergency Response as the government would like it called.

To implement the Intervention the Racial Discrimination Act had to be suspended. One of the paternalistic programs was the Basics Card and Income management. Pretty much a modern day ration card to use at an EFTPOS machine on checkout. I’ve written about it before.

One of the aims of this program was to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables at remote stores. The government relying on interviews with shop managers said it worked. The only scientific study to be done says it failed miserably.

However the government wants it to continue. But it was under pressure nationally and internationally to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act. To do this they are bringing in Income Management to everyone on government benefits. And boy did that create a row. So there’s an opt out. If you can show you can manage your income.

That should be easy. An aboriginal person wanting some self determination should just walk into a Centrelink office and be respected and listened to and have their benefits restored.

Ok, I was dreaming just then.

The truth seems to be a million miles from what it should and needs to be. Unless you are articulate and be prepared to argue and be prepared to be shamed by Centrelink staff talking about your “vulnerability” it looks like it just won’t happen.

Crikey.com.au on the 20th September had a first hand account of the difficulties of removing yourself from mandatory Income Management if you are an Indigenous Australian in the Northern Territory. I urge you to read it here

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