The federal government has defended its proposal to quarantine welfare payments in the Northern Territory amid criticism the measure is racially driven.

It has also backed the lengthy consultation process, denying various appeals for the program to be made voluntary, not compulsory, have been ignored.

"Not everybody is in favour of it, but what I have to do is look at the majority," Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

"And the majority view is that we should continue income management."

Under draft laws yet to be passed by parliament, the government will extend income quarantining to certain welfare groups by July.

But there are claims income management has been grossly expanded to areas where it's not needed simply to get around the Racial Discrimination Act.

The government plans to assess income quarantining by the end of 2011 with a view to rolling out the scheme across Australia.
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