As we understand it, the Commonwealth Government is set to deem some categories of people as suitable for compulsory income management regardless of their ability to manage their own finances. In short, even if a person is great at budgeting they won’t be given the chance to make their own decisions about how and where they spend their money.
The measures to be announced today by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs will affect a number of voiceless and vulnerable groups in our community. In particular we believe compulsory Income Management will unfairly target young people deemed as being “Unreasonable to Live at Home” (eg because they are at risk of family violence).
We question the merit of this proposal given Centrelink already has the power to compel welfare recipients to participate in income management if they are deemed unable to manage their finances. The proposed change turns the current arrangement on its head by capturing everyone that might be deemed “Unreasonable to Live at Home”.
We believe that every person should be individually assessed before income management is deemed necessary. This topsy-turvy process undermines trust. It undermines responsibility. It erodes the process of individuals becoming capable managers of their own affairs.
Goulburn Valley CLC calls on the Federal Government to immediately rethink this anticipated measure.
For background information on Income Management visit the Department of Human Services website.
For media comment, please contact:
- Anna Howard, Loddon Campaspe CLC Principal Lawyer, 0417 237 044, or
- Peter Noble, Loddon Campaspe CLC Coordinator, 0400 870 210.
For independent comment about the change to the Income Management Pilot please contact:
- David Tenant, CEO Family Care, 0419 876 421
- Graeme Parish, CEO of The Bridge, 0428 312 033
- Patrice Jackson, Regional Director Berry Street, 0419 536 574
- Hamish Fletcher, Acting CEO Primary Care Connect, 5823 3206, or
- Felicia Dean, Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative, 0408 252 303.
Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre is a Division of Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre.