Improvements to the delivery of income management for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory have been made in response to findings from an interim evaluation report.
The report, by the Australian National University, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW, found that among people on income management in the NT there was a statistically significant perception of an improvement in their ability to afford food.
It also found that income management could contribute to improved wellbeing for some, particularly those who had difficulties in managing their finances or who were subject to financial harassment.
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the report built on the independent Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011 which found that income management was supported by many people in communities who believed it was bringing about positive outcomes, especially for children.
Ms Macklin said the report also built on findings from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, which showed that the majority of respondents who were on income management thought that it had led to positive changes in communities.
She said the new model of income management had been operating in the Northern Territory since 2010.
“The report identified areas where income management could operate more effectively, including clearer exemption processes for people who were on compulsory income management and better targeted money management courses,” Ms Macklin said.
“In response, the Government is making changes to improve the delivery of income management in the Northern Territory.”
Ms Macklin said the changes would apply from 1 July 2013 and include ensuring parents on compulsory income management had a clearer pathway to apply for an exemption.
“Under the new arrangements, parents will receive more regular reminders from Centrelink about their responsibilities and the requirements they need to satisfy to qualify for an exemption, such as ensuring that their child has regular health checks, is immunised, and attends school,” she said.
“The Government will also strengthen the relationship between money management services and Centrelink, to ensure people on income management are receiving help to build their financial literacy, including budgeting, banking, savings and awareness of the risks of payday loans.”
Ms Macklin said the final evaluation report of income management in the Northern Territory would become available in 2014.
The interim report can be accessed at this PS News link.
Edition 342, 4 December 2012