A Deloitte Access Economics evaluation into Place-Based Income Management is showing strong results for participants.
Overall 85.5 per cent of people on income management voluntarily and 50.4 per cent of people on compulsory income management found that the BasicsCard improved their ability to pay bills.
Most encouragingly, the evaluation shows that income management is having an impact of participants spending on alcohol and gambling products, improved financial wellbeing and positive impacts for children.
For people on compulsory forms of income management, the mean number of alcoholic drinks consumed per month reduced from 20.9 to 13.9 over six months – a reduction of 37.3 per cent. For volunteers, the amount of alcoholic drinks consumed improved three-fold (reduced from 38.3 to 12.9) over the same period.
The proportion of people who gambled also fell from 12.2 per cent to 6.8 per cent over a six month period for people who were compulsorily placed on the programme. This means that 44.3 per cent of people who gambled before being placed on the programme did not report any recent gambling activities.
The evaluation also found that people placed onto compulsory income management also saw a big reduction in homelessness.
The evaluation found that those who were placed on compulsory income management who experienced homelessness or ‘slept rough’ in the last three months, dropped from 14.7 per cent to 5.5 per cent.
Feedback from case workers who worked with recipients on income management is overwhelmingly positive throughout the evaluation.
Caseworkers that work in the Bankstown place-based region say that their catchment area now has the lowest rates of public housing rental arrears in NSW. They attribute this success to income management.
While the results were highly encouraging there are lessons from the evaluation to be learned.
The Government will use the lessons from this report for implementation of potential future place-based income management sites and the implementation of the Welfare Debit Card.
The Assistant Minister for Social Services welcomed the evaluation.
“This evaluation shows that income management is working and improving the lives of the people on it”, Mr Tudge said.
“The stats show people on income management are spending less money on non-welfare products such as alcohol and gambling and are experiencing less homelessness”.
“There are lessons from this evaluation that we will apply to the development and implementation of the Welfare Debit Card trials”, Mr Tudge said.