Income Management in the NT: Food for Taxis

Claire Smith, Gary Jackson

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


When the government receives the recommendations of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) Review Board later this month, it is going to have to face the unintended consequences of its actions. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin have stated on a number of occasions that their yardstick for whether an NTER measure is working is: "Is it good for kids?"

We have just conducted an in-depth study of the impact of the NTER on 118 people in the Katherine East region. Let us assess one NTER measure against the Prime Minister's yardstick. The people who are targeted by the NTER are living on welfare, and very few people have a car (perhaps one in 10). There is no regional transport system. So, the only way to get into town is for a few people to band together to pay for a taxi.

In the communities of Barunga, Eva Valley and Wugularr a one-way taxi ride varies from $160 to $220. Luckily, this counts as an essential service, so income management funds can be diverted from food to taxis.

So, people pay $220 to drive past their community store (where they are not allowed to use their income managed funds) so they can collect their store cards and buy their food in town.

They are forced into a position whereby they have to swap food for taxis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Specialist publicationABC Opinion
PublisherABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Northern Territory Intervention
  • Social justice
  • Remote Aboriginal communities
  • Northern Territory Emergency Intervention
  • Racial discrimination


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