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NT stakeholders slam Government for rushing Cashless Debit Card bill without adequate consultation and hearings in remote locations at senate inquiry 

The Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee have heard of a stunning lack of consultation with key stakeholders in the NT on the expansion of the Cashless Debit Card in the Northern Territory.

“The issues that the Government is trying to address through compulsory income management were meant to have been “fixed”  through the controversial Intervention over a decade ago”, Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues said.

“If income management had been so effective in the last decade then why do we still see such high levels of disadvantage in the Northern Territory?

“There was very concerning research presented by the Menzies School of Health that assessed birth rates during the Intervention which showed that on average there was a 100 gram decrease in birth weight and a 30% increase in low birth weights for those who had been on income management. 

"My question is how well are those children doing now? Unfortunately there has been no research on this, there is clearly a need to follow this up.

“This is a Government pursuing an ideological agenda which they have no evidence to support. 

"The World Health Organisation indicate that the single most important social determinant for health is the degree to which people have control of their lives.

"Top down approaches where choice is taken away from people, such as by income management disempowers people by taking away their sense of control.

"Proper consultation means going to all communities and speaking to everyone, ensuring free, prior informed consent and ensuring that members of a community understand the impact a policy will have on their lives, not just talking to people that the Government picks.

"The Greens call on all politicians to listen to the overwhelming evidence and stop the entrenchment of income management with this damaging bill."

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