The Intervention and Employment

The Intervention (or as it became to be known – Northern Territory Emergency Response) was brought in to improve the lives of remote Indigenous Australians within the Northern Territory. No where else as the Federal Government could not take over State’s rights, only the Territory. The first move was to suspend the Racial Discrimination Act.

So many things were to be changed. Improved housing, more jobs, more kids at school, even eating more vegetables.

And none of them were. New housing took forever to commence, repairs have been downgraded, school attendance is worse than ever and the government’s claim that more fresh food was sold in remote stores was disproven.

One unfortunate, but I guess a predictable consequence has been the increase in discrimination with 25% of the Aboriginal population experiencing some form of discrimination.

Which brings me to Income Management and the Basics card where a proportion of your wage is quarantined and can only be spent in certain places for essentials. You have or rather had no choice. To bring this law in the Racial Discrimination Act was altered. The government to show they are good world citizens has to reinstate the act and bring in Income Management for everyone in the NT. Just it seems if you are not aboriginal you can’t or won’t be let out of it.

Even those who work for CDEP “wages” have their income “managed” and this has been causing some disquiet with rallies in several places around Australia. Let’s put that sentence in simpler terms. Aboriginal people in remote communities who have to work for their welfare benefits are not allowed to obtain all their benefit. This has led to claims of being treated like slaves and the Intervention enslaves whole communities.

The government claims that over 2000 new jobs have been created. However remote Indigenous Australians disbelieve their claims.

Here is what the population of Ti Tree think of the Intervention, employment prospects and Income Management

More articles on this can be found here

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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