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Thursday, 28 June 2012
Page: 4931


Senator CHRIS EVANS (Western AustraliaMinister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (22:13): I have not seen the report Senator Milne refers to but I have read references to it and I have heard people discuss it. As I say, there is a contest here about these issues, and I accept that, but the government is convinced that the reforms are delivering results. We look at things like the fact that we are seeing reports of more fresh fruit and vegetables being brought into stores where income management applies—real changes in the nutritional impact on communities. We also know that about 4,100 people in the Northern Territory are on voluntary income management—they have chosen to be on income management. They are voting with their feet; they are saying this is of benefit to them. They are indicating that they value it. Senator Crossin, a Northern Territory senator with a great deal of experience in this area, referred to her personal experiences talking to people in communities.

I accept that there is a divergence of view on this but the government's experience is that these measures are delivering improved results for some of the basic issues we are trying to address, and we will continue with the income management program and look to refine it as part of the amendments we are introducing in this bill.