IM Study

Study questions indigenous welfare management

A group of leading academics from across the nation says the Federal
Intervention is doing more harm than good in the Northern Territory.

The Intervention is a series of welfare reforms and packages aimed at
tackling claims of rampant sexual abuse and health problems in remote

But 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.

The study, which looked at 10 remote communities shows welfare management
has had no beneficial effect on cigarette, soft drink, or fruit and
vegetable sales.

Doctor Julie Brimblecombe says the findings show mandatory restrictions on
how people spend money do not work.

“I think that people are really limited in what they can, but with the money
that they have and when people have a small amount of money people go for
the foods that are going to provide the most calories, fill them up and keep
them going and keep the family going as well,” she said.

“It’s not giving people more money it is just restricting, putting
restrictions of 50 per cent of the money people have already got.”

The Federal Government is looking at extending income management to
non-indigenous Australians, and the findings fly in the face of a report
that last year said it was resulting in more money spent on healthy food.

The latest research also shows the health of young Aborigines continues to
be a disaster.

It has found the rate Indigenous children – including infants – are
hospitalised for pneumonia in the Territory is among the highest in the
world and young Aboriginal adults are up to 11 times more likely to have
clinically poor oral health than other young Australians.

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