Print this page

Damning NT report shows income management must go

Media Release                                                            STICS                                                    1 October 2012

MR Anti-Intervention campaigners speak out over sacking of Olga Havnen - 12 October 12: please click here


STICS apologises for an error in this press release, which cites the figure of $1 billion spent on income management in the NT under the Intervention. While the NT Co-ordinator General's report is stridently critical of the enormous expenditure on income management, it does not cite any figure for total spending. This mistake was made when taking notes from the report for this press release. Our own research indicates that more than $700 million has now been budgeted for income management in the NT since 2007. All other cited statistics are accurately cited from the NT Co-ordinator General's report.


Damning NT report shows income management must go

The Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) has renewed calls for the national income management system to be dismantled, following the release of a damning report by the NT Co-ordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services (NTCGRIS).

The report, which documents extreme waste on spending on bureaucracy, comes as the $120 million national expansion of income management is badly stalling, with few referrals and work bans on the scheme in NSW.

"This report from the NTCGRIS meticulously and completely discredits the NT Intervention. Obscene amounts of money have been wasted on what it calls 'punitive' measures such as income management, while most Aboriginal people in remote areas continue to languish in extreme poverty without access to many basic services", said Paddy Gibson from STICS.

"The report says more than $1 billion has been spent on income management in the NT. More than $225 million has been spent on Government Business Managers (GBMs) to take control of community administration. In contrast, an estimated $2 billion is urgently required on top of current investments to ensure the functioning of very basic infrastructure such as sewage and water systems in remote Aboriginal communities".

"During an Intervention purportedly to save children, only $65 million has been spent on early childhood programs and the vast majority of remote Aboriginal children still have no access to a preschool".

"Income management costs more than $5000 per person per year and 15,000 people are on the system in the NT. But in 2010-11, in the middle of an acute child welfare crisis, only 74 children received an intensive case-managed family support program, at a comparable cost of $6,932 per child."

"There is no publicly available account for a staggering $291 million budgeted by the Commonwealth for 'governance' and 'building community governance capacity', but there is widespread evidence of systematic, crippling disempowerment of Aboriginal community leaders and organisations".

Mr Gibson says NT Aboriginal leaders are taking heart from the resistance to income management that is spreading around the country:

"Three months into the so-called 'trial' of income management in five sites around the country, Minister Jenny Macklin only has a handful of people on the system. To our knowledge, no one in Bankstown has been put on compulsory income management".

"This is due to a strong community campaign demanding redirection of funds for income management into community based services and employment opportunities. Minister Macklin must immediately dismantle income management, not replicate the same ineffective, bureaucratic waste seen under the Intervention".

"We congratulate the NSW Public Sector Association, whose members in child protection are refusing to refer people to the system. These workers are having to endure budget cuts affecting frontline services, while being asked to implement the expensive, unhelpful income management program".

"During my last two months traveling to NT communities, news of the community campaign in Bankstown and union ban has been enthusiastically received by Aboriginal leaders who have been fighting the Intervention since 2007. They feel they are not alone. The Yolngu Nations Assembly, representing 8000 people across Arnhem Land, has sent a message of congratulation to the PSA", concluded Mr Gibson.

For more information contact:

Paddy Gibson 0415 800 586

Background Info:

Office of the Northern Territory Coordinator-General for Remote Services Report
June 2011 to August 2012 - please click here

NT Coordinator General for Remote Services - please click here

Department of Regional Development and Indigenous Advancement Progress Reports - please click here

Crikey - Anderson sacks Havnen – a case of two strong hens in the NT henhouse is one too many? - 9 October 2012 -
The hottest tickets in Darwin and Alice Springs later this week will be to the public community briefings by Olga Havnen on her report – and more. If the CLP government thought that they could silence Havnen by sacking her on Monday and that this would stop her running public forums on her work later in the week then they have underestimated her resolve and commitment. ...

The New Lawyer - Report spotlights indigenous rights - 8 October 2012 -
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has urged governments to do more to respect the rights of Aboriginal peoples in light of a new report on service delivery to the Northern Territory. Stephen Keim (pictured), president of ALHR, said the NT coordinator-general’s findings in relation to the decision-making of Aboriginal peoples and how this relates to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) were “concerning”....

Catherine Zengerer - New report highlights cost of income management in the NT - 3 October 2012 -
for the audio clip:

SNAICC News -  Report finds serious flaws in delivery of government services to NT Aboriginal communities - 27 September 2012 -
The first report of the Northern Territory Coordinator General for Remote Services entitled Office of the Northern Territory Coordinator-General for Remote Services Report, June 2011 to August 2012 has called for greater accountability and transparency from government departments — at both the territory and Federal levels — delivering programs and services to Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.... -

Service Delivery in Government - Office of the Northern Territory Coordinator-General for Remote Services Report, June 2011 to August 2012 - 26 September 2012 -
... The first report by Olga Havnen as Northern Territory Co-ordinator General for Remote Service “focuses on four major themes arising from the approach taken by governments in relation to Aboriginal people since the NT Emergency Response (NTER) commenced in 2007 and reflected in the Stronger Futures arrangements proposed for the next ten years. -

Amnesty International - Report confirms inequity in government services in remote Indigenous communities - 25 September 2012 -
Amnesty International is hopeful a new report, which looks at Commonwealth programs to reduce Indigenous disadvantage in the Northern Territory, will lead to changes in the way services are delivered in remote communities. The report, released by the Office of the Northern Territory Coordinator-General for Remote Services, concludes government programs fail to take into account the needs of Aboriginal towns and communities and do nothing to counteract what it calls ‘structural entrenched racism’. ... - and for the report