WGAR News: New research questions the effectiveness of NT income management (19 May 10)

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR Website: http://wgar.info/

Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
Research on the impact of income management on store sales
Health impacts of the Northern Territory intervention
New National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
Other Aboriginal Articles


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney):

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group):

Intervention walk-off's Blog:

WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights):


- The Research

eMJA - The Medical Journal of Australia:
Impact of income management on store sales in the Northern Territory
Julie K Brimblecombe, Joseph McDonnell, Adam Barnes, Joanne Garnggulkpuy Dhurrkay, David P Thomas and Ross S Bailie
17 May 10: "Conclusion: Income management independent of the government stimulus payment appears to have had no beneficial effect on tobacco and cigarette sales, soft drink or fruit and vegetable sales. ... Discussion ... The government’s aim in introducing income management is to ensure that people receiving welfare payments use this money in a government-prescribed “socially responsible” way, and in a way that makes money available to “feed, clothe, house and provide for the education of their children”. Our findings suggest that income management may not be associated with healthier food and drink purchases, and may be having no effect on tobacco sales."

- News about the research

Menzies School of Health Research:
Welfare Quarantining Fails to Prompt Healthier Purchases in Indigenous Community Stores
"A new publication by Menzies School of Health Research raises doubts about the effectiveness of income management on improving Indigenous health outcomes. ... Menzies’ Researchers examined store sales data from 10 remote Indigenous communities from the 18 months before the legislation was introduced and for 18 months after it was brought in."

SMH: NT spending controls fail to improve eating habits
17 May 10: "Controls imposed on how indigenous people in remote communities could spend their welfare payments had no lasting impact on junk food and tobacco sales, research has shown. ... But the [income management] scheme failed to lead to healthy purchases because fruit and vegetables were too expensive, forcing residents to opt for cheaper calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods, ... "

Canberra Times: Indigenous spending curbs fail in NT
17 May 10: "Darwin Menzies School of Health Research's Julie Brimblecombe said it was a similar story for tobacco sales. ''Over time, [indigenous] people adjusted and found alternative means to purchase restricted items. These findings do not support official government reports of improved health food and drink purchases in association with income management,'' she said."

ABC AM: Government expands income management
17 May 10: "The Federal Government is determined to expand the program which limits how Indigenous people in remote communities spend their welfare payments. They can pay for essentials such as food, clothing and rent but can't use the payments for alcohol and tobacco, pornography or gambling. But as Lindy Kerin reports, the Darwin-based Menzies School of Health Research, has raised serious doubts about the benefits of the policy."

National Indigenous Radio Service:
Intervention doing more harm than good: new report
17 May 10: "A group of leading academics from across the nation says the Federal Intervention is doing more harm than good in the Northern Territory."

Medindia: Income Management In NT Has Little Impact on Tobacco Sales: MJA
16 May 10: "[Dr Brimblecombe said] "The findings challenge a central tenet of income management – that people’s spending habits will be modified in a positive way with mandatory restrictions on expenditure alone." Dr Brimblecombe said it was unlikely that mandatory management of people’s income would lead to purchasing of more fruit and vegetables when issues of availability, quality, affordability and home storage remained key issues."

9 News: Intervention has no impact on junk food
16 May 10: "Welfare spending curbs imposed on indigenous families in the Northern Territory have had no lasting impact on sales of junk food and tobacco, research shows. ... she [Dr Brimblecombe] said monitoring showed that within six months of the move to income management, tobacco, soft drink and confectionary sales had returned at least to historic sales levels."

ABC: Study questions indigenous welfare management
16 May 10: "A group of leading academics from across the nation says the Federal Intervention is doing more harm than good in the Northern Territory. ... according to new research published in the Medical Journal of Australia, income management has not resulted in more healthy food being bought and eaten by many Aborigines."

- Responses to the research by the Australian Greens

Rachel Siewert: Australian Greens Call on Government to Abandon Income Management
17 May 10: "The Australian Greens have called on the Federal Government to abandon its plans to extend income management, saying the approach is flawed. "The latest research by the Menzies School of Health Research showing that income management hasn't modified purchasing behaviour should be well and truly ringing the Government's alarm bells" said Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on community services. "Not only is there no hard evidence that income quarantining is working, but there is now compelling evidence that income quarantining has a negative effect on people.""

Efficient Farming: Greens rail against welfare quarantining
18 May 10: "Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says the study is proof income management has failed. "We've never been supportive of income management. We think it causes more harm than good," she said. "It doesn't address the underlying causes of disadvantage and we believe it should be scrapped by the Government. ... She [Rachel Siewert] says welfare recipients will be shocked when they hear about plans to roll out compulsory income management across the country."

See: Rachel Siewert - Income Management: http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/im

- Responses to the research by Jenny Macklin and Warren Snowdon

News.com.au: NT soft drink sales on Rudd's agenda
16 May 10: "THE Federal Government will look at new ways to cut down soft drink consumption in remote Northern Territory communities. ... The Government response follows a study from the Darwin-based Menzies School of Health Research, released today, that found income management in the NT had done little to dampen soft-drink sales."

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP: Media Releases
Reducing high sugar drink consumption in remote communities
16 May 10: "The Australian Government is requesting an urgent report from key departments on policy options to help reduce the consumption of high sugar drinks in remote communities. A new study from the Menzies School of Health Research has highlighted the need to lower the consumption of high sugar drinks in remote Indigenous Northern Territory communities."

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP: Transcripts
Menzies School of Health Research report on income management in the Northern Territory ...
ABC2 News Breakfast with Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland
17 May 10: "JENNY MACKLIN: It's very important to look at all of the information that's available to us. Last year we published a study that had been done on 66 stores - not the 10 stores of this study, but 66 stores across the Northern Territory, and it was found that more than two-thirds of the store owners did see an increase in the amount of fresh fruit and veggies being purchased, dairy products, meat products."

- Response to Jenny Macklin by co-authors of the research study

Crikey: Macklin’s twisting the truth on income management
17 May 10: "We are the co-authors of a study published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, ... We are concerned that indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin has responded to our study by highlighting the results of the government’s evaluation. She has told journalists that the government intends to press ahead with plans to roll out income management more broadly, and has appeared to dismiss our findings." Dr Julie Brimblecombe & Associate Professor David Thomas, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin

- Responses to Jenny Macklin by other commentators

Comment by Jon Altman
[scroll down page to comments at bottom of article] http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/17/income-management-isnt-working-and-m...
17 May 10: "I have carefully read the Brimblecombe et al. piece in MJA ‘Impact of income management on store sales in the Northern Territory’ and find it the most comprehensive and scholarly quantitative research available to date on the food and tobacco expenditure impacts of income quarantining before and after the Intervention. ... it is quite inappropriate to compare this research undertaken by academic experts at arms-length from government from research undertaken by federal bureaucrats or their paid consultants; ... "

The Stump - a Crikey group blog:
Evidence Trivialised in a Lemonade solution
17 May 10: "Minister Macklin’s response to the latest evidence that Income Management doesn’t work, from the newly released Menzies Health Centre study, is only the latest example of anti-evidence based decisions in the welfare system. Jumbunna, the UTS Indigenous research unit, released a report last week summarising the earlier evidence for and against the proposed changes. ... " Eva Cox

Croakey - the Crikey health blog:
Does Macklin’s office have no shame? More on the income management study…
17 May 10: "This email landed at Croakey today. “Macklin’s office really has no shame!” My correspondent* was commenting on the response from Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin to a study published today in the Medical Journal of Australia showing that the federal government’s income management policy is not making an impact on tobacco and healthy food sales in remote community shops in the NT."


- Editorial

eMJA - The Medical Journal of Australia:
Health impacts of the Northern Territory intervention
17 May 10: "The introduction of the NTER and, in particular, the lack of community consultation, was a cause for deep concern. In response, AIDA chose to undertake a health impact assessment to give voice to affected communities and, as doctors, to facilitate discussion with policymakers and program leaders on ways to improve the NTER and reduce negative impacts on health and wellbeing. ... The health impact assessment findings speak for themselves and show that the intervention does more harm than good." Peter O’Mara, President, Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association


- Opinion/Analysis

National Indigenous Times:
THE BOX SEAT: National rep body... here we go again!
13 May 10: "The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has officially been born... but will it do anything to further the cause, asks BRIAN JOHNSTONE*. ... No real power will ever be transferred. The establishment of a compromised national representative body with no powers, no independent funding and no forward political agenda is, unfortunately, just the latest evidence that this will always be the case." Brian Johnstone, Walkley-award winning journalist and columnist at NIT

National Indigenous Times:
RINGY’S RAMBLINGS: Don’t kick a gift horse in the teeth
13 May 10: "In Darwin, GRAHAM RING* writes that the new National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples shouldn’t be cut down before it has had a chance to grow up." Graham Ring, fortnightly writer and columnist with NIT

National Indigenous Times:
NIT FORUMS: Hailing a new voice
13 May 10: "The formation of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples will finally give Indigenous Australians a voice in the capital, writes SHARAN BURROW*. ... From today, Indigenous Australians have a progressive and dynamic new voice." Sharan Burrow, president, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)

- Background

WGAR News: … Proposed national Indigenous body (29 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/290809-un-expert-calls-nt-intervent...

WGAR News: … More media responses to proposed national Indigenous body (31 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/310809-more-media-responses-to-un-e...

WGAR News: … Still more media responses to proposed national Indigenous body (3 Sep 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/3-sep-2009-governments-review-of-ab...

WGAR News: … Proposed National Indigenous Representative Body (22 Sep 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/22-sep-2009-ampilatwatja-anti-inter...

WGAR: New Way Summit delegates unanimously reject government sponsored Rep body (31 Jan 10)

WGAR News: … Proposed National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (2 Feb 10)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/02022010-national-day-of-action-sat...

WGAR News: New National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (9 May 10)


- Letter

eMJA - The Medical Journal of Australia:
The Northern Territory Emergency Response and cannabis use in remote Indigenous communities
17 May 10: "Thus, while there may have been some substitution of cannabis for alcohol following introduction of the NTER restrictions and Alcohol Management Plans, it seems clear that the increase in use of cannabis cannot be attributed primarily to these interventions. The problem, regardless of the cause, needs to be addressed, but it will not be addressed simply by relaxing alcohol restrictions." Dennis A Gray, Deputy Director, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)