Since the introduction of welfare (income) management, the specter of …

Comment on Can the town afford the welfare burden? by Hal Duell.

Since the introduction of welfare (income) management, the specter of hunger through misuse of the dole has faded. Now everyone is guaranteed the wherewithal to at least buy basic food stuffs. To take this away from those Australians that have missed out on the chance to earn an income of their own would be cruel.
Therefore, we may as well accept that some people will be getting the dole for life, or at least getting that part of it that gets credited to the BasicsCard.
Some of the other dole monies are already contingent on school attendance. There are differing opinions on whether this will work or not, but let’s give it a chance and hope it does. As Kay Eade points out, “businesses have more success with young people who attend or have attended school”.
I think the other big structural change that needs to be made in welfare is to allow restitution orders for property damage caused by adults and their children to be made against that part of the dole not already committed to the BasicsCard. As I understand it, restitution orders are not allowed under the current welfare system.
Being on the dole is not a good life choice, but it would be foolish to think it’s not being made. In a recent television program focusing on education in bush communities, a young teenage girl was especially pleased with herself because she could now write her name and date of birth.
My initial reaction was to admire her desire to register to vote.
When I expressed that, I was laughed at. She was pleased because she could now register for the dole.
This is the coal face where the work needs to be done.

Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Hazardous waste facility near Alice recommended
“It’s not me! I didn’t do it!” And yet I doubt if there is a household in Alice that doesn’t have at least one product the manufacture of which has contributed to the waste slated for storage.
It’s called denial. If only we did waste as well as we do denial.


Gallery: Friday is the day
Now that would have been an interesting question. Do the residents of Alice really want another art gallery? Or are we being sold a pup?


Bush community learning centre to close
“Batchelor Institute say that increased funding would be needed to run the Centre in 2018, they run similar programs in three Warlpiri communities where they are funded through royalties money.”
Sounds like a plan.


Cops with assault rifles footage six years old
I would like to thank CM Gunner for clarifying the issue of armed and masked TRG police being deployed on the streets of Alice over the coming summer. There won’t be any. Good!
The use of specialised equipment to assist operational officers is a good idea. The perpetrators of youth crime need to be identified.
But this begs the question of what will be done with these young criminals once identified? We can’t hold them in detention, we can’t hold the parents accountable, it seems we can’t do much of anything, really.
These plans are not very encouraging. I suppose they will keep the vigilantes off the streets, but will they keep the kids off them as well?
Perhaps these running-amok kids can be identified as coming from a specific community, and then the royalty payments going to their community can be sequestered until the damages done by them to the residents of Alice have been fully paid for?


Masked cops with assault rifles, but where are the parents?
So it’s come to this. A Tactical Response Group may be deployed to Alice to deal with youth crime. And we have no one but ourselves to blame.
Consider the alternatives.
The NT Police dare not intervene in youth crime for the simple reason that to so much as look sideways at a juvenile delinquent in action is accompanied with reams of paperwork and the high likelihood of a departmental inquiry and possible legal action.
The Town Council is not constituted to deal with policing matters. They can and do host meetings to try to reach a community consensus on what to do about children “getting ready for the summer crime spree,” but internal divisions and differing agendas make theirs a fractured voice.
And while the larger Indigenous organisations often voice their concerns, whatever they may be doing has clearly not worked in past years, and there is little to suggest that this summer will be any different.
And so now we may be seeing armed and (I assume) masked men (and women?) patrolling our streets, not to deal with organised criminals or national or international terrorists, but to deal with children. How inept are we?


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