What is compulsory income management?
Since 1 July 2012, some welfare recipients living in ‘declared areas’ have been subject to compulsory income management. Income management refers to an arrangement where a percentage of a person’s payment from Centrelink is set aside; this part of the payment can only be spent on ‘priority needs’ (s 123TH SSA A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation.). This means a welfare recipient loses the choice to spend a percentage of their Centrelink payment on things other than the goods and services Treated by the law as if something is the case, even if that is not the reality. For example, children may be deemed to have the same home as their parents, whether they actually live there or not. Or a person may be deemed to have given their consent to something if they hear about it and do not object. Compare rebuttable. to be priorities by the Australian Government.
Priority needs include food, clothing, health items, education and training, child care, housing, household utilities, public transport and acquisition, repair and Money paid to a person to financially support them. When a couple has separated both parents have a duty to support their children, and a court can order a parent to make regular payments to support the children. Maintenance for a spouse is now less common, and must be applied for within 12 months of a divorce. It is usually covered in a final settlement of all property. of a motor vehicle.
A welfare recipient is given a Basics Card, which can be used to pay for priority needs. The Basics Card can be only used at approved stores and businesses through the EFTPOS system. The Basics Card cannot be used to buy alcoholic products, tobacco products, pornography, gambling products and services or homebrew kits and concentrates.
Centrelink contacts those who are to be subject to income management.
The following areas are declared areas for the purposes of compulsory income management (s 123TFA SSA Act):
- New South Wales: Bankstown.
- Northern Territory: the whole territory.
- Queensland: Cape York, Doomadgee, Livingstone, Logan and Rockhampton.
- South Australia: the APY Lands, Greater Adelaide and Playford.
- Western Australia: Kimberley region, NG Lands, Peel region and metropolitan Perth.
- Victoria: Greater Shepparton.
People may be affected differently in different areas.
Who may be affected in Victoria?
To be subject to compulsory income management in Victoria, you must live in the Greater Shepparton area. You must also be receiving a payment from Centrelink or from the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). You also have to be referred to the compulsory income management program by a social worker or a child protection authority.
Or, you are a young person who is not a full-time student or apprentice and:
- you have been granted the Unreasonable to Live at Home Payment; or
- you are aged under 16 and have been granted the Special Benefit Payment; or
- you are aged under 25 and have been released from prison and have been given the Crisis Payment in the last 13 weeks.
You can volunteer to have your Centrelink payments be income managed.
Exemptions and appeals
People who are subject to compulsory income management have the right to apply for an exemption. The exemptions available depend on whether the welfare recipient is the main carer of a school-age child (ss 123UGB–123UGG SSA Act). If you are exempt, income management stops for 12 months, unless your circumstances change.
People who are subject to compulsory income management also have the right to The review of the decision of a lower court by a higher court. If an appeal is successful, the higher court can change the lower court’s decision. the decision to manage their income to the Administrative Appeals A body set up to hear and decide disputes, usually with less formality and less strict rules of evidence than in a court proceeding. (the appeals process is explained in ‘Administrative Appeals Tribunal’, below.)
If a child protection agency has recommended a person be subject to compulsory income management, that decision should first be appealed to the child protection agency that made the recommendation.
In Victoria, in some circumstances, the decision to manage a person’s income can be reviewed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.