Mar 23, 2009

How the NT intervention is harming children

Income management shames those who live under it and takes us back to the days of the mission. It sets Aboriginal people apart from their fellow Australians, writes Irene Fisher.

It is 15 days since the Rudd Labor Government announced it would continue the NT Intervention for a further three years. The Government promised that the results of the Intervention would be monitored and that changes would be “evidence-based”.

What evidence is there that the Intervention has directly assisted in caring for our children — the premise on which the Intervention has been based?

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4 thoughts on “How the NT intervention is harming children

  1. Jenny Mac

    This is not the only health initiative that was community owned – and successful – to have been crashed by the Intervention. Ampilatwatja Health service was taken down by OATSIH, for some obscure reasons of administrative expediency. A successful school breakfast program run by Red Cross across the region was crashed as well. Vast sums of Intervention cash are being soaked up by the agencies in between people in remote communities and the money. Remote community people who have never had a drink in their lives have given up hope, and are getting on the grog. Government doesn’t want to know as long as they are being told what they want to hear.

  2. Ian N.

    Does the $90M that Irene refers to factor in the cost of conformance?. There is very little evidence that the terms of Basic Card are being met by suppliers and plenty of anecdotal evidence that non-prescribed goods of all sorts are being supplied. The issue of running another billing through the checkout is seen as just to onerous, so it is not done and why would you, nobody checks anyway. It all goes on the Basic, even if you don;t need it! What a Nonsense!. “We have excess money in our basics so let us go and get something”! Unscrupulous suppliers are now putting anything in their store on Basic. Why are larger outlets now stocking goods that they never did before and which are not prescribed? Why are the prices on these goods at profiteering levels? Simply because they have a “captive” market and the competition has been hobbled. This is plain and simple abuse under the guise of something else. It is being perpetrated against Australians by Australians with no evidence of any redeeming qualities. Educated Australians mange there own income. People that live on aboriginal lands are educated in many many ways and some can do with a hand in areas where they are vulnerable. This support should be targeted and specific ensuring that basic respect and dignity is maintained. A well trained mentor with involvement with a number of families could be appointed to assist and support the cash flow of the family via budgets etc. thus providing a potential for ongoing improvement. What is the legacy of Basic’s ? More dependency based on the lowest common denominator?. The Basic’s concept is belittling people and putting scarce resources straight into the hands of profiteers.

  3. Frank Baarda

    The above article coincided with a joint media release from Jenny Macklin and Warren Snowdon:

    “The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) is making good progress with more than 15,000 people on income management, more police on the beat and a successful school nutrition program in 70 communities.
    The Australian Government is moving the NTER to a sustainable development phase to ensure measures will be effective for the long-term, including engagement and partnership with Indigenous communities.
    We are committed to strengthening our efforts to combat violence, child abuse and rebuild social norms.
    The Government must help protect women and children from the shocking levels of abuse and violence”.
    ,and a bit further down: ” At 13 March, 15,204 customers are being income-managed”.
    Customers indeed!
    So not only are they enforcing a draconian inefficient bizarre scheme that is counter productive towards its alleged aims but they’re proud of it!
    One of the main recommendations of the largely ignored NTER Review Board Report (Peter Yu et al) was that:
    “The current blanket application of compulsory income management in the Northern Territory cease.”
    Pretty straight forward I would have thought.

    Meanwhile we that live on “prescribed areas” are overjoyed by the prospect of the NTER moving into “a sustainable development phase”. Can’t wait!!!

  4. Jillian

    There are some very valid points made here. The cost of $90 million to manage $270 million and the fact that income management has not reduced alcohol or drug consumption… Prior to reading this, I was unsure of whether income management was a good idea, but this is enough to convince me that it’s not. I hope the policy will be reversed.

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