The Accountable Income Management Network (AIMN)'s response to the Productivity Commission’s Indigenous Evaluation Strategy Issues Paper.
This submission is primarily written with reference to AIMN's area of collective expertise and concern - social security policy, particularly in relation to compulsory income management programs in Australia. These programs were initially developed for application in Indigenous communities and continue to disproportionately target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This submission highlights key challenges manifested in both the trial of the Cashless Debit Card and the ParentsNext program and, in identifying and describing AIMN's concerns regarding the evaluation of these initiatives, points to the need for clear evaluation guidelines and subsequent adherence to them.
- Evaluation of programs implemented in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders needs to be better conducted.
- AIMN believes that The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies’ Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies should form part of the foundation for policy and program development, as well as monitoring and evaluation practice, for any interventions that may affect or target Indigenous peoples.
- Thinking about policy making holistically requires government to make a commitment to seriously re-think its engagement with Indigenous peoples in a way that removes paternalism, tokenism, exploitation and discrimination at all levels.