Income Management

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The Rudd Government's new laws give them the power to extend Income Management across Australia to people on many kinds of Centrelink payments.

These laws could affect your family.

Income Management Flyer | More Information | Take Action

The Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of Racial Discrimination Act) Bill 2009 passed the Senate on Monday 21 June, 2010. We're still committed to expressing our specific concerns about it.

These new laws give the Rudd Government the power to extend income management across Australia. The Australian Greens are the only party who opposed these laws.

 Call your Senators now at Parliament House (phone numbers are available here) or email them senator.(senator’s surname)@aph.gov.au and ask them questions, such as:

1.       Why is it that people like me – who are doing the right thing, are good at managing their money and take good care of their children will get caught up in this scheme and treated like we've done something wrong?

2.       On what basis will the government select the areas in which these new laws will apply?

3.       When will I be affected? What guarantee is there that this won't affect my family in the next year or so if there is a change of government or the government changes its mind?

4.       If I am placed on income management what can I do to get off it?

5.       Why did the Rudd Government pass laws that extend Income Management across all of the Northern Territory and across Australia when there is no hard evidence that they have made a difference to children's health and well being?

6.       Income management in the Northern Territory has cost hundreds of millions of dollars – but there is very little new money in the budget for social services – what other community programs will you be cutting to pay for it?

7.       How is a scheme like income quarantining – that demonises and humiliates people and takes away their control of their money – meant to be consistent with the Government's commitment to 'social inclusion'?


Who's Affected?

Now these new laws have been passed, they allow the Minister Jenny Macklin to declare ‘disadvantaged communities’ where these new laws will apply. This place could be a town or a suburb, an entire Centrelink district or the whole city, even the entire state – how big or small the area is up to the Minister.

These laws apply to anyone in a declared area on:

- Youth Allowance, Newstart, Parenting Payment (Single or Partnered) or Special Benefits, who is: Under 25 and has received payments for 13 weeks in the last 26 weeks; or Over 25 and has received payments for 52 weeks (1 year) in the last 104 weeks (2 years).
- Anyone declared ‘vulnerable’ or ‘at risk’ of family violence or economic abuse. This only includes  aged pensioners or disability support pensioners  who are individually targeted by Centrelink.

The Government claims the legislation could be applied nationally, but will only impact the Northern Territory in the inital phase. After that, it's anyone's guess.

What does it mean?

Income management or income quarantining means half of your Centrelink payments are managed by Centrelink and can only be spent on certain things.

Some of this money goes onto a Basics Card which will only work in some shops and can only be used to buy approved items (like basic food and clothes). Quarantined money can also be approved by Centrelink to direct-pay bills – like rent and power … but not your phone bill, fines or debts.

Because you have to queue up and meet with Centrelink any time you want to change how your money is spent, quarantining can make it harder to respond when there is a crisis ... or even if you simply need a few dollars so your child can go on a school excursion.

Why Me?

Under these laws, people will be punished simply for living in what the Government thinks is the 'wrong' area.

The Income Management is hard to escape once you're included and will apply to you even if you've met your Centrelink obligations and always done the right things for your kids and the right things with your money.

Download: Income Management Flyer 

 


TAKE ACTION

Call Your MP or Senator and ask the tough questions:

- Why is it that people like me – who are doing the right thing, are good at managing their money and take good care of their children – caught up in this scheme and treated like we've done something wrong?
- On what basis will the government select the areas in which these new laws will apply?
- When will I be affected? What guarantee is there that this won't affect my family in the next year or so?
- If I am placed on income management what can I do to get off it?
- Why is the Rudd government introducing laws that extend Income Management from the Northern Territory across Australia when there is no hard evidence that they have made a difference to children's health and well being?
- Income management in the Northern Territory has cost hundreds of millions of dollars – but there is very little new money in the budget for social services – what other community programs will you be cutting to pay for it?
- How is a scheme like income quarantining – that demonises and humiliates people and takes away their control of their money – meant to be consistent with the Government's commitment to 'social inclusion'?

Senator Christopher Evans
Australian Labor Party
senator.evans@aph.gov.au
Phone: (08) 9481 4844

Senator Louise Pratt
Australian Labor Party
senator.pratt@aph.gov.au
Phone: (08) 9225 4411

Senator Glenn Sterle
Australian Labor Party
senator.sterle@aph.gov.au
Phone: (08) 9455 1420
 
Senator Mark Bishop
Australian Labor Party
Phone: (08) 9472 6177
senator.bishop@aph.gov.au

CONTACT OTHER MPs



CONTACT US

Contact Us for an Action Pack.
Mail:1/151 Brisbane St, Northbridge WA 6000
Phone: 08 9228 3277
Email: senator.siewert@aph.gov.au

 
MORE INFORMATION

Download: Income Management Flyer 
Senator Siewert has written a dissenting report as part of the Inquiry into the provisions of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act) Bill 2009 and related legislation. Download Senator Siewert's Report.
Crikey!: Read Senator Siewert's Crikey article
NT Stateline: The impact of income management in the NT