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Income management and the Racial Discrimination Act

 In March 2011, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, is reported to have said that it is likely that some time in the future a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) will be lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in relation to income management of welfare payments on the grounds that it discriminates against Indigenous people. If any such complaint were upheld, this would be a significant test of one of the main pillars of the Australian Government’s welfare reform agenda.This raises the question of how the AHRC—the statutory body with responsibility for resolving complaints of discrimination or breaches of huma... Read more...

Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory

Scheduled for debate on 27 February are the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Bill 2011 and its associated Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011 and Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2011.All three follow through on measures that had their origin in the ‘Northern Territory Emergency Response’ (often referred to as the NTER or ‘The Intervention’) initiated by Prime Minister Howard and Minister Brough in June 2007. To refresh your memory, there were four bills.the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Bill 2007 provided for banning the consumption, possession or supply of alcohol within prescribed areas, the ... Read more...

What's the future for income management in the Northern Territory?

In her foreword to the Government’s recent discussion paper on the future of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, argued that lack of consultation had caused ‘ongoing anger, fear and distrust among indigenous people’ and that the next stage of the NTER would need to be based on ‘partnership with Aboriginal people’. To this end, the Government plans to consult with Aboriginal people over coming months about ‘what has worked well and where improvements can be made’.Interestingly, the paper does not include income management as one of its ‘eight areas for future action’. Indeed, the paper argues that ‘as income management applies ... Read more...

Child protection income management in the Northern Territory

The Gillard Government recently announced that child protection income management was being rolled out in the Northern Territory (NT). Under this program, child protection workers in the NT will be able to refer parents to Centrelink for compulsory income management when children are being neglected or are at risk of neglect. Provision for child protection income management to be introduced into the NT was created through changes  to the NT Emergency Response earlier this year.Income management refers to arrangements whereby a percentage of the income support and family payments of certain people is set aside to be spent only on ‘priority goods and services’ such as food, housing, clothing, ... Read more...

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