19/05/2010: NEW RESEARCH QUESTIONS NT INCOME MANAGEMENT

Contents:
Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
Research on the impact of income management on store sales
Health impacts of the Northern Territory intervention
New National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
Other Aboriginal Articles

BACKGROUND TO THE NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT) INTERVENTION:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Territory_intervention

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney):
http://stoptheintervention.org/

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group):
http://rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com/

Intervention walk-off’s Blog:
http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/

WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights):
http://wgar.info/

RESEARCH INTO THE IMPACT OF INCOME MANAGEMENT ON STORE SALES:

– The Research

eMJA – The Medical Journal of Australia:
Impact of income management on store sales in the Northern Territory
Julie K Brimblecombe, Joseph McDonnell, Adam Barnes,
Joanne Garnggulkpuy Dhurrkay, David P Thomas and Ross S Bailie
http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/192_10_170510/bri10090_fm.html
17 May 10: “Conclusion: Income management independent of
the government stimulus payment appears to have had no
beneficial effect on tobacco and cigarette sales, soft
drink or fruit and vegetable sales. … Discussion … The
government’s aim in introducing income management is to
ensure that people receiving welfare payments use this
money in a government-prescribed “socially responsible”
way, and in a way that makes money available to “feed,
clothe, house and provide for the education of their
children”. Our findings suggest that income management may
not be associated with healthier food and drink purchases,
and may be having no effect on tobacco sales.”

– News about the research

Menzies School of Health Research:
Welfare Quarantining Fails to Prompt Healthier Purchases
in Indigenous Community Stores
http://www.menzies.edu.au/research/research-news/welfare-quarantining-fails-prompt-healthier-purchases-indigenous-community-st
“A new publication by Menzies School of Health Research
raises doubts about the effectiveness of income management
on improving Indigenous health outcomes. … Menzies’
Researchers examined store sales data from 10 remote
Indigenous communities from the 18 months before the
legislation was introduced and for 18 months after it was
brought in.”

SMH: NT spending controls fail to improve eating habits
http://www.smh.com.au/national/nt-spending-controls-fail-to-improve-eating-habits-20100516-v6fi.html?skin=text-only
17 May 10: “Controls imposed on how indigenous people in
remote communities could spend their welfare payments had
no lasting impact on junk food and tobacco sales, research
has shown. … But the [income management] scheme failed to
lead to healthy purchases because fruit and vegetables were
too expensive, forcing residents to opt for cheaper
calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods, … “

Canberra Times: Indigenous spending curbs fail in NT
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/national/national/general/indigenous-spending-curbs-fail-in-nt/1831518.aspx
17 May 10: “Darwin Menzies School of Health Research’s
Julie Brimblecombe said it was a similar story for tobacco
sales. ”Over time, [indigenous] people adjusted and found
alternative means to purchase restricted items. These
findings do not support official government reports of
improved health food and drink purchases in association
with income management,” she said.”

ABC AM: Government expands income management
http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2010/s2900988.htm
17 May 10: “The Federal Government is determined to expand
the program which limits how Indigenous people in remote
communities spend their welfare payments. They can pay for
essentials such as food, clothing and rent but can’t use
the payments for alcohol and tobacco, pornography or
gambling. But as Lindy Kerin reports, the Darwin-based
Menzies School of Health Research, has raised serious
doubts about the benefits of the policy.”

National Indigenous Radio Service:
Intervention doing more harm than good: new report
http://www.nirs.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3563:intervention-doing-more-harm-than-good-new-report&catid=2:news-broadcasts&Itemid=65
17 May 10: “A group of leading academics from across the
nation says the Federal Intervention is doing more harm
than good in the Northern Territory.”

Medindia:
Income Management In NT Has Little Impact on Tobacco Sales: MJA
http://www.medindia.net/news/Income-Management-In-NT-Has-Little-Impact-on-Tobacco-Sales-MJA-68988-1.htm
16 May 10: “[Dr Brimblecombe said] “The findings challenge
a central tenet of income management – that people’s
spending habits will be modified in a positive way with
mandatory restrictions on expenditure alone.” Dr
Brimblecombe said it was unlikely that mandatory management
of people’s income would lead to purchasing of more fruit
and vegetables when issues of availability, quality,
affordability and home storage remained key issues.”

9 News: Intervention has no impact on junk food
http://currentaffairs.ninemsn.com.au/health/1053034/intervention-has-no-impact-on-junk-food
16 May 10: “Welfare spending curbs imposed on indigenous
families in the Northern Territory have had no lasting
impact on sales of junk food and tobacco, research shows.
… she [Dr Brimblecombe] said monitoring showed that
within six months of the move to income management,
tobacco, soft drink and confectionary sales had returned at
least to historic sales levels.”

ABC: Study questions indigenous welfare management
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/16/2900701.htm?site=indigenous&topic=latest
16 May 10: “A group of leading academics from across the
nation says the Federal Intervention is doing more harm
than good in the Northern Territory. … 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.”

– Responses to the research by the Australian Greens

Rachel Siewert:
Australian Greens Call on Government to Abandon Income Management
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/content/media-release/australian-greens-call-government-abandon-income-management
17 May 10: “The Australian Greens have called on the
Federal Government to abandon its plans to extend income
management, saying the approach is flawed. “The latest
research by the Menzies School of Health Research showing
that income management hasn’t modified purchasing behaviour
should be well and truly ringing the Government’s alarm
bells” said Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens
spokesperson on community services. “Not only is there no
hard evidence that income quarantining is working, but
there is now compelling evidence that income quarantining
has a negative effect on people.””

Efficient Farming: Greens rail against welfare quarantining
http://www.efarming.com.au/News/general/18/05/2010/98467/greens-rail-against-welfare-quarantining.html
18 May 10: “Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says the study is
proof income management has failed. “We’ve never been
supportive of income management. We think it causes more
harm than good,” she said. “It doesn’t address the
underlying causes of disadvantage and we believe it should
be scrapped by the Government. … She [Rachel Siewert]
says welfare recipients will be shocked when they hear
about plans to roll out compulsory income management across
the country.”

See: Rachel Siewert – Income Management
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/im

– Responses to the research by Jenny Macklin and Warren Snowdon

News.com.au: NT soft drink sales on Rudd’s agenda
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/nt-soft-drink-sales-on-rudds-agenda/story-e6frfku9-1225867433120
16 May 10: “THE Federal Government will look at new ways to
cut down soft drink consumption in remote Northern
Territory communities. … The Government response follows
a study from the Darwin-based Menzies School of Health
Research, released today, that found income management in
the NT had done little to dampen soft-drink sales.”

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP: Media Releases
Reducing high sugar drink consumption in remote communities
http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/reducing_sugar_consumption_16may10.htm
16 May 10: “The Australian Government is requesting an
urgent report from key departments on policy options to
help reduce the consumption of high sugar drinks in remote
communities. A new study from the Menzies School of Health
Research has highlighted the need to lower the consumption
of high sugar drinks in remote Indigenous Northern
Territory communities.”

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP: Transcripts
Menzies School of Health Research report on income
management in the Northern Territory …
ABC2 News Breakfast with Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland
http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/health_research_report_17may10.htm_.htm
17 May 10: “JENNY MACKLIN: It’s very important to look at
all of the information that’s available to us. Last year we
published a study that had been done on 66 stores – not the
10 stores of this study, but 66 stores across the Northern
Territory, and it was found that more than two-thirds of
the store owners did see an increase in the amount of fresh
fruit and veggies being purchased, dairy products, meat
products.”

– Response to Jenny Macklin by co-authors of the research study

Crikey: Macklin’s twisting the truth on income management
http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/17/income-management-isnt-working-and-macklins-twisting-the-truth/
17 May 10: “We are the co-authors of a study published
today in the Medical Journal of Australia, … We are
concerned that indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin
has responded to our study by highlighting the results of
the government’s evaluation. She has told journalists that
the government intends to press ahead with plans to roll
out income management more broadly, and has appeared to
dismiss our findings.” Dr Julie Brimblecombe & Associate
Professor David Thomas, Menzies School of Health Research

– Responses to Jenny Macklin by other commentators

The Stump – a Crikey group blog:
Evidence Trivialised in a Lemonade solution
http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/05/17/evidence-trivialised-in-a-lemonade-solution/
17 May 10: “Minister Macklin’s response to the latest
evidence that Income Management doesn’t work, from the
newly released Menzies Health Centre study, is only the
latest example of anti-evidence based decisions in the
welfare system. Jumbunna, the UTS Indigenous research unit,
released a report last week summarising the earlier
evidence for and against the proposed changes. … ” Eva Cox

Croakey – the Crikey health blog:
Does Macklin’s office have no shame? More on the income management study…
http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2010/05/17/does-macklins-office-have-any-shame-more-on-the-income-mgt-study/
17 May 10: “This email landed at Croakey today. “Macklin’s
office really has no shame!” My correspondent* was
commenting on the response from Indigenous Affairs Minister
Jenny Macklin to a study published today in the Medical
Journal of Australia showing that the federal government’s
income management policy is not making an impact on tobacco
and healthy food sales in remote community shops in the NT.”

– Other response

Comment by Jon Altman
[scroll down page to comments at bottom of article]
http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/17/income-management-isnt-working-and-macklins-twisting-the-truth/
17 May 10: “I have carefully read the Brimblecombe et al.
piece in MJA ‘Impact of income management on store sales in
the Northern Territory’ and find it the most comprehensive
and scholarly quantitative research available to date on
the food and tobacco expenditure impacts of income
quarantining before and after the Intervention. … it is
quite inappropriate to compare this research undertaken by
academic experts at arms-length from government from
research undertaken by federal bureaucrats or their paid
consultants; … “

HEALTH IMPACTS OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY INTERVENTION:

– Editorial

eMJA – The Medical Journal of Australia:
Health impacts of the Northern Territory intervention
http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/192_10_170510/oma10307_fm.html
17 May 10: “The introduction of the NTER and, in
particular, the lack of community consultation, was a cause
for deep concern. In response, AIDA chose to undertake a
health impact assessment to give voice to affected
communities and, as doctors, to facilitate discussion with
policymakers and program leaders on ways to improve the
NTER and reduce negative impacts on health and wellbeing.
… The health impact assessment findings speak for
themselves and show that the intervention does more harm
than good.” Peter O’Mara, President, Australian Indigenous
Doctors’ Association (AIDA)

NEW NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AUSTRALIA’S FIRST PEOPLES:

– Opinion/Analysis

National Indigenous Times:
THE BOX SEAT: National rep body… here we go again!
http://www.nit.com.au/opinion/story.aspx?id=19788
13 May 10: “The National Congress of Australia’s First
Peoples has officially been born… but will it do anything
to further the cause, asks BRIAN JOHNSTONE*. … No real
power will ever be transferred. The establishment of a
compromised national representative body with no powers, no
independent funding and no forward political agenda is,
unfortunately, just the latest evidence that this will
always be the case.” Brian Johnstone, Walkley-award winning
journalist and columnist at NIT

National Indigenous Times:
RINGY’S RAMBLINGS: Don’t kick a gift horse in the teeth
http://www.nit.com.au/opinion/story.aspx?id=19787
13 May 10: “In Darwin, GRAHAM RING* writes that the new
National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples shouldn’t be
cut down before it has had a chance to grow up.” Graham Ring,
fortnightly writer and columnist with NIT

National Indigenous Times:
NIT FORUMS: Hailing a new voice
http://www.nit.com.au/opinion/story.aspx?id=19786
13 May 10: “The formation of the National Congress of
Australia’s First Peoples will finally give Indigenous
Australians a voice in the capital, writes SHARAN BURROW*.
… From today, Indigenous Australians have a progressive
and dynamic new voice.” Sharan Burrow, president,
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)

– Background

WGAR News: … Proposed national Indigenous body (29 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] https://wgar.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/290809-un-expert-calls-nt-intervention-discriminatory/

WGAR News: … More media responses to proposed national Indigenous body (31 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] https://wgar.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/310809-more-media-responses-to-un-expert-james-anaya/

WGAR News: … Still more media responses to proposed national Indigenous body (3 Sep 09)
[scroll down page] https://wgar.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/3-sep-2009-governments-review-of-aboriginal-housing-scheme-in-the-nt/

WGAR News: … Proposed National Indigenous Representative Body (22 Sep 09)
[scroll down page] https://wgar.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/22-sep-2009-ampilatwatja-anti-intervention-walk-off-speaking-tour/

WGAR: New Way Summit delegates unanimously reject government sponsored Rep body (31 Jan 10)
https://wgar.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/new-way-summit-delegates-unanimously-reject-government-sponsored-rep-body/

WGAR News: … Proposed National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (2 Feb 10)
[scroll down page] https://wgar.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/02022010-national-day-of-action-saturday-13-february-2010-2/

WGAR News: New National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (9 May 10)
http://indymedia.org.au/2010/05/08/wgar-news-new-national-congress-of-australias-first-peoples-9-may-10

OTHER ABORIGINAL ARTICLES:

– Letter

eMJA – The Medical Journal of Australia:
The Northern Territory Emergency Response and cannabis use
in remote Indigenous communities
http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/192_10_170510/gra%2010131_fm.html
17 May 10: “Thus, while there may have been some
substitution of cannabis for alcohol following introduction
of the NTER restrictions and Alcohol Management Plans, it
seems clear that the increase in use of cannabis cannot be
attributed primarily to these interventions. The problem,
regardless of the cause, needs to be addressed, but it will
not be addressed simply by relaxing alcohol restrictions.”
Dennis A Gray, Deputy Director, National Drug Research
Institute, Curtin University of Technology


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