About the Study

 

Income management quarantines a portion of social security payments, placing these funds in a special account that can only be used to pay for essentials such as food and bills, and cannot be used to purchase alcohol or tobacco. Compulsory income management was first introduced to Australia - and, indeed, the world - in 2007 as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (‘the intervention’), and has been through several incarnations in the decade since. A comparable policy - ‘money management’ - was introduced to New Zealand in 2012.

While numerous government evaluations of income management have been undertaken in Australia, their findings have been inconsistent. Stakeholders and politicians alike have called for a rigorous and independent study of the program to better understand its impacts.

To date, no evaluations - independent or otherwise - have been conducted into money management in New Zealand.

This project therefore represents the first large independent study of compulsory income management in Australia and New Zealand. It investigates how income management has developed as a policy, how it is being implemented by service providers, and how it affects the lives, choices and autonomy of benefit recipients.

A key aim of this study is understand the lived experiences of those who are subject to compulsory income management, and feed these findings back to policymakers.

Professor Greg Marston introduces the project.