Wednesday, 25 November 2009 00:00

UnitingCare Australia Opposes Involuntary Income Management

 Uniting Care Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds has called today for the Australian Government to focus on delivering effective support for disadvantaged and vulnerable families. 

“Minister Macklin’s announcement today that involuntary income management will be rolled out across the country has missed the mark.” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.   

“Instead of addressing the gap between income support payments and the cost of living, instead of ensuring that all families who seek help with their parenting role, mental health, substance abuse, and family violence issues can get their needs met, the Government has chosen to quarantine the income of all people on particular income support payments in specified communities.  What the government is saying that it’s too hard to address the issue of multiple disadvantage in a manner that preserves dignity and respect for welfare recipients, instead we should simply focus on populist and simplistic approaches which demonise people in our community who need support.” 

“UnitingCare Australia welcomes the financial support component of this measure, which will see $53m provided in matched savings, money management and financial counselling services. This part of the Government’s response delivers in part on recommendations made earlier this year by the Major Church Providers on improving the financial health and wellbeing of disadvantaged and vulnerable Australians.  If in addition to this families seek assistance with managing their income, and Governments can partner with these families to help them to meet their costs of living and save for the future, then good.”   

“What is not acceptable is involuntarily and indiscriminately quarantining the incomes of everyone who receives a particular type of income support payment, in specific communities, and failing to deliver on the deeper causes of hardship and deprivation.” 

“UnitingCare services work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and families in the Northern Territory and in every other part of Australia.  We know that what these families need is adequate income for a decent life, financial stability, affordable and secure housing and a service system that makes sense and meets their needs for as long as is necessary to address the challenges they face.  Our experience in the WA income management trials is that the cost of administering income management far outweighs any benefit to children.” 

“This measure is expected to cost $350m to implement.  I would prefer to see those funds going into targeted and individually relevant services that have been shown to deliver longer term positive outcomes for children living in disadvantaged and vulnerable families.” 

 

Contact: Michael Brown 0418 916 936 

UnitingCare Australia is the national agency for UnitingCare, a network service providers in over 1300 communities across Australia dedicated to providing assistance to individuals, families and communities. The UnitingCare network is one of the largest providers of community services in Australia.