Welfare payments quarantining for WA desert
by The Stringer
April 4th, 2013
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin
Aboriginal peoples in the Gibson Desert of Western Australia will be subjected to income management measures as the Federal Government continues its promise to expand income management.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin confirmed the controversial system moving into the Ngaanyatjarra and Kiwirrkurra lands – bordering WA, the NT and SA.
Up to 70 per cent of welfare payments are quarantined and the money can only be spent on food, rent, clothing and utilities.
But the income management measures are not a first of WA. Already there are 1,500 people under income management – mostly in Perth and the Kimberley and mostly Aboriginal peoples.
Ms Macklin is arguing that a large number of residents in the Ngaanyatjarra and Kiwirrkurra lands said that they wanted income management. She said that most of the 1,500 in Perth and the Kimberley who had entered into income management agreements had done so voluntarily – but a signature does not mean it was voluntary if they were threatened with losing payments altogether if they did not sign.
Income management was one of the stalwarts of former Prime Minister John Howard’s NT “Intervention” measures.
Minister Macklin has said that “welfare should be not be a destination or way of life” but most of the communities where income management has been imposed, the State, Territory and Federal Governments have not invested funds in grafting in layers of community development, employment and adequate access to education and health and furthermore most of these towns and regions are still lacking the full suite of services and utilities that should be available to every Australian.
They are being kept poor – by the Australian Government and by the very instruments the Australian Government has stated it has set up to help these peoples.