Confirmation compulsory income management must go is welcome, all parties and candidates must endorse

21 April 2022

The ALP’s confirmation that it opposes compulsory income management and would make the basics and cashless debit cards voluntary is a welcome alternative to the current punitive and ineffective income management regime.

ACOSS calls on all parties and candidates to match this commitment and abolish compulsory income management once and for all.

ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“ACOSS welcomes confirmation from the ALP that it opposes all forms of compulsory income management. What people need right now is more hope and more agency, not a government that wields a big and ineffective stick with punitive income management arrangements.”

“For almost 15 years, Australia has imposed income quarantining on people receiving income support living in selected communities. In that time, there has been no conclusive evidence produced that mandatory income quarantining (either income management or cashless debit) addresses poverty, addiction, or other issues that communities may face.

“Recent reports showed that an internet outage meant people in the Northern Territory were unable to buy food with these cards for days on end –  showing just how pernicious these kinds of technologies are.

“This policy discriminates against people on low incomes, and it particularly affects First Nations peoples who are grossly overrepresented among people subjected to it.

“ACOSS urges all parties and candidates to abolish all forms of mandatory income management and to introduce greater fairness to Australia’s social security system.

“The best way to support people experiencing poverty and disadvantage is to lift income supports so everyone can cover the basics. The rate of Jobseeker, Youth Allowance, and other income support payments must be at least $70 a day and indexed to wages. Additional support must also be provided to single parents, people with disability and private renters to make ends meet.”