A Crikey reader writes from the Northern Territory, eagerly awaiting the local impact of the federal government’s welfare payment bonuses. Will the rivers of grog flow free this week as payments lob into remote community accounts? Maybe not so much:

I imagine a few whitefellas might get on the piss, but no such luck for people on prescribed communities. Under welfare management they are not being trusted to spend to save the economy. From my understanding, people whose income is quarantined will have these bonuses paid into their quarantine accounts, but will only be able to access it $800 at a time, sweet Jesus, and even then within limits (something like they are not allowed to have more than $1500 in their quarantined account at a time). So a family with four kids will get $4000 but spread over a few months. This means they will not be able to spend up big on the kinds of items that are designed to save the Harvey Normans of this world.

Of course, if you are on income management and want to buy toys for your kids for Christmas, you have to go to the toy shop and get a written quote which then is taken to Centrelink, who pays the merchant directly. After all this, the Christmas present can be picked up, no doubt, by Santa and his helpers. It was a lot easier for baby Jesus who got his presents delivered by three wise men, rather than through the offices of the 880 Commonwealth public servants up here in the Territory managing the lives and incomes Aboriginal people. 

Merry Christmas.