PhD graduand wins LSAANZ outstanding publication prize

22 November 2019
Exploring impact of place-based income management legislation
Liesel Spencer, who recently completed her PhD at Sydney Law School, has been awarded the 2019 Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) publication prize for an early career researcher.
Liesel Spencer

Congratulations to Liesel Spencer, who has been announced as the winner of the 2019 LSAANZ publication prize for an early career researcher. The prize is awarded annually for the most outstanding contribution to the field of law and society by an Australian or New Zealand scholar.

Her article, 'Place-based Income Management Legislation: Impacts on Food Security', reports on the findings of field research into the impact of place-based income management (PBIM) legislation – a form of managing how welfare payments are spent – on food security for participants in the trial site of Bankstown, NSW.

“PBIM trial participants are given a compulsory BasicsCard which can only be used at a limited number of approved retail food outlets,” says Liesel.

“Bankstown has high ethnic, language and religious diversity, and a high number of migrant and humanitarian entrants, reflected in a vibrant food culture and streetscape. However, for PBIM trial participants, the bulk of Bankstown’s rich food landscape is effectively ‘greyed out’ and inaccessible, and the shops which do accept the BasicsCard are more expensive than those which don't.

“My findings are that PBIM is neither genuinely place-based legislation, nor does it improve food security for participants in the Bankstown trial site. The legislation is complicit in constraining access to the economic, social and cultural aspects of food security for a group of people who are already marginalised and vulnerable.”

Commenting on Liesel’s article the award assessors said: “The research project made a strong original contribution to our understanding of income management and is a valuable addition to the literature about the treatment of beneficiaries, especially because of the novel focus on place-based income management. It delivered some fascinating data and insights.” 

The award will be presented at the LSAANZ Conference at Southern Cross University in December.