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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Aboriginal income management is working

Children in the Tanami Desert community of Yuendemu enjoy the town's new pool, built with community donations and government funds. Photo: Glenn Campbell

Peggy Brown, Warlpiri traditional owner, wants the emergency income intervention to continue. “It’s working, no doubt about it, she said.

Jenny Macklin, Indigenous Affairs Minister met with Peggy and Ruby Williams, another Warlpiri woman for private talks yesterday and said they didn’t want any change.

The Warlpiri community is split over the intervention. The men don’t want it because it interferes with their grog consumption and the women swear by it because it puts food on the table. So far the women are winning.

With the help of the Intervention Taskforce head, Major General Dave Chalmers, the women set up the Nguru-Walalja shop which was an instant success, doubling turnover in months. “It’s now the best performing store in the Northern Territory” General Chalmers said. The shop now has 400 people on its books for quarantining and employs up to seven local people.

The Minister said “The division between men and women over income management could not have been sharper, I explained to the men that it was going to continue”.

I like Jenny Macklin. This month she overruled her own intervention review board and rejected a recommendation to make income management voluntary. Go Jenny

Being the boss of one of the toughest jobs in the country, Jenny Macklin’s out there doing it for the women and children of the outback.

Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs