The Federal Government should immediately halt its plans to expand compulsory income management across Australia, and instead redirect funding to programs that address social problems and disadvantage, a coalition of national community organisations have said in a public statement released today.
A voluntary, not mandatory income management scheme should be introduced into a Bill before the Federal Parliament rather than a blanket approach which would see all long-term unemployed Australians and sole parents in regions nominated by the Minister automatically lose half their cash payments to income support management.
“The scheme is based on a discriminatory assumption that people on income support cannot manage their money or that they are unable to care for their children,” said Clare Martin, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.
To administer the scheme, the Government will spend an average of $17,600 on every person being income managed over four years in the Northern Territory.
“This is a serious waste of taxpayers’ money to be spent on administering ablanket scheme which is discriminatory and demeaning. This funding could be better spent on targeted programs to help people find jobs, fixing social problems, or to improve the adequacy of income support payments,” said Ms Martin. “Quick fixes don’t work.”
“We support non-discriminatory policies that help people manage their finances and income management can be used as a useful tool when this is voluntary and supported by the right mix of community services.”
The joint statement is supported by :
- Australian Association of Social Workers
- Australian Council of Social Service
- Catholic Social Services Australia
- People with Disability Australia
- Family Relationship Services Australia
- Jobs Australia
- National Council of Single Mothers and their Children
- National Ethnic Disability Alliance
- National Shelter
- St Vincent de Paul
Media Contact: Clare Cameron, ACOSS – 0419 626 155