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End Bankstown trial of income management and consult with locals: Greens

The Australian Greens have vowed to oppose the Bankstown trial of income management following last night's release of the Senate Inquiry into the Stronger Futures legislation report and evidence given to the committee questioning whether the government consulted with locals before announcing the Bankstown trial.

Bankstown is one of five locations nationally where the government is set to trial compulsory income management from 1 July 2012.

Greens Senator and spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues Rachel Siewert said: ""The Australian Greens strongly oppose the continuation of compulsory income management in the NT and its expansion to five trial sites, including Bankstown. 

"The Senate Inquiry into the Stronger Futures bills received a number of submissions pointing to a lack of evidence that income management leads to better outcomes or improved ability to budget.

"Evidence also pointed to the fact that income management was not discussed with communities in the five new trial sites.

"I believe that because income management is a highly contentious measure, the Government has been reluctant to open it up for consultation.

"We have recommended that the expansion of income management be removed from this legislation and will continue to campaign for this to occur", said Senator Siewert.

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said: "Evidence given by the Australian Human Rights Commission to the Inquiry puts in question whether the government consulted with Bankstown locals at all in the lead up to the budget announcement of the Bankstown trial (AHRC submission para 58).

"The Greens are calling on the Minister for Families and Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin to explain what consultation has been done with Bankstown residents and businesses. If there was no consultation, Minister Macklin needs to explain why.

"The Minister's discretion to extend income management without consultation with affected communities is breath-taking. It allows for roll out by stealth, which appears to be the case in Bankstown.

"Labor and the Coalition are singing from the same songbook in pushing an expansion of income management into Bankstown, despite the complete lack of positive evidence to back it up.

"Income management is punitive, top-down, ineffective and discriminatory and this Senate Inquiry will only spur on local opposition to the trial in Bankstown", said Senator Rhiannon.

The report of the Senate Inquiry into the Stronger Futures legislation, including the Greens dissenting report, can be found here.


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