NTCOSS welcomes the Australian Labor Party’s commitment to scrap Compulsory Income Management if elected at the upcoming federal election.
NTCOSS CEO Deborah Di Natale says she looks forward to seeing more detail on this, with better policies and strong leadership needed in this space.
“We want to see all major parties match this commitment to scrap this bad policy,” she said.
“Compulsory Income Management is a discriminatory and coercive policy, affecting more than 24 thousand Territorians – the vast majority of whom are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
“Meaningful co-design and self-determination must be the cornerstone for any future policies income management should only ever be offered on an opt-in basis,” she said.
NTCOSS has long held concerns about Compulsory Income Management, its impacts on people’s mental health and the significant issues it can pose on remote Territorians.
“Only last year we saw Maningrida residents left without access to the essentials when the internet went down,” Deborah Di Natale said.
“People spent days without access to food, nappies, electricity, and petrol.”
“When these things happen it’s very difficult for remote Territorians to get help, because Centrelink resources to remote communities have been cut,” she said.
Many remote Territory communities rely on cash economies and compulsory income management is essentially locking people out of local trade.
The people hardest hit are often women. We have heard cases where women haven’t been able to readily escape domestic violence, because they have their rent automatically paid from their quarantined income. Setting up and changing rental payments takes time and DFSV victim survivors are finding themselves unable to pay for alternative accommodation because their money has gone to the home they have just escaped.
“The next step is for politicians from all walks to acknowledge that even without income management – $46 a day is not enough to live on,” NTCOSS CEO Deborah Di Natale said.
“We need to see a permanent increase to the rate of income support to at least $70 a day, and it’s deeply disappointing that there has been no leadership in this space from either major party.”
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