Income management in the Northern Territory



Author:  Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Income management has operated in the Northern Territory since 2007.

Who does it apply to?

In the Northern Territory, income management may apply to:

  • people referred for income management by child protection authorities
  • people who volunteer for income management
  • people assessed by a Centrelink social worker as being vulnerable to financial crisis, which could include people referred by state housing authorities because they are at risk of homelessness due to rental arrears
  • people referred for income management by the Northern Territory Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Tribunal
  • people who are:
    • aged 15 to 24 and have been receiving one of the following payments for three of the last six months:
      • Youth Allowance
      • Newstart Allowance
      • Special Benefit
      • Parenting Payment Partnered or Parenting Payment Single
    • aged 25 years and above and have been receiving one of the following payments for more than one of the last two years:
      • Youth Allowance
      • Newstart Allowance
      • Special Benefit
      • Parenting Payment Partnered or Parenting Payment Single.

Referral criteria for the child protection measure in the Northern Territory are determined by the Northern Territory Department of Children and Families, according to its internal policies and procedures. People are referred by the Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Tribunal, under the Supporting People at Risk measure of income management , if they are referred for mandatory treatment.

How does it work?

Income management does not change the amount of Centrelink payments a person receives. It just changes the way that they receive part of their payment. People participating in income management receive the balance of their payments in the usual way.

Income management works by ensuring that part of the person’s payment is allocated to pay for priority items such as food, housing, clothing, utilities, education and medical care. Centrelink assists people on income management to identify their expenses and helps them adjust their allocations as required.

Income management limits expenditure of Centrelink payments on excluded items, including alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling goods and activities. There is no restriction on how a person can use the proportion of their payments that are not income managed.

What percentage of a person’s Centrelink payments is income managed?

Under the child protection and the Supporting People at Risk measures of income management, 70 per cent of a person's Centrelink payments is set aside for necessities such as food, housing, utilities, clothing and medical care. For people on other measures of income management, 50 per cent of their welfare payments is generally set aside for basic necessities.

How can people spend their money?

People can spend their income managed funds in the following ways:

  • by allocating money to the BasicsCard, which can be spent at various stores for items such as food, clothing, petrol, health and hygiene products
  • asking Centrelink to make payments from their income management account for regular expenses such as rent and bills, school meals programs and payments to community stores
  • asking Centrelink to make one-off payments to stores and
  • if their priority needs have been met, allocate income managed funds to items that are not priority needs (as long as they are not excluded items). This means people can plan ahead to buy larger items such as motor vehicles or whitegoods with their income managed funds.

Income managed funds cannot be used to purchase excluded goods, including alcohol, home brew kits, home brew concentrates, tobacco products, pornographic material and gambling goods and activities.

Who can apply for an exemption from income management?

People who are income managed under the Participation / Parenting Measure can apply for an exemption from income management.

What other support services do people receive?

People who are participating in income management are offered a free and confidential referral to Financial Management Program services, for financial counselling and money management skills training.

In the Northern Territory people who are on the Child Protection Measure of Income Management may be eligible for the Intensive Family Support Services (IFSS)

Incentives are also available for each measure of income management.

More information

For more information:

  • go to
  • talk to your local Centrelink Income Management Contact Officer
  • call the Income Management Line (for customers only) on 1800 132 594.

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