3 March 2020

An independent study conducted by three universities has confirmed that compulsory income management — which targets vulnerable Indigenous communities — is ruining lives instead of empowering them. The report found that by limiting their access to cash, people are cut off from important cash-only transactions, such as taking their kids to community events like fun-fairs, or buying second-hand textbooks. Worse, the companies profiting from the system (such as Indue) don’t pay their “clients'” bills on time, so that affected families are forced to use their limited cash to pay rent. Survey respondents “overwhelmingly indicate that IM had hindered rather than helped with management of their financial affairs, and that it had reduced their sense of autonomy, wellbeing and overall locus of control”. Dr Michelle Peterie summarised: “The overwhelming finding is that compulsory income management is having a disabling rather than enabling affect on the lives of many social security recipients. This was true across all of our research sites.”