Community Sector Banking
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
News  |  Social Affairs

Cashless Welfare Card Expands to Queensland


Wednesday, 12th September 2018 at 5:30 pm
Luke Michael
The controversial cashless welfare card trial is expanding to Queensland after government legislation passed the Senate by a single vote.


Wednesday, 12th September 2018
at 5:30 pm
Luke Michael


3 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Cashless Welfare Card Expands to Queensland
Wednesday, 12th September 2018 at 5:30 pm

The controversial cashless welfare card trial is expanding to Queensland after government legislation passed the Senate by a single vote.

Despite continued opposition from Labor and the Greens, the bill extending the trial to Bundaberg and Hervey Bay won Tuesday’s Senate vote 33 to 32.

Independent Tim Storer withdrew his opposition to the bill after the government agreed to amend the legislation, meaning the trail will be subject an independent inquiry.

This comes after a recent auditor-general report said the government’s approach to monitoring and evaluating the trial was inadequate.          

The amendment was supported by the opposition, but Labor Senator Jenny McAllister said she remained sceptical.

“[I] wish to place on record my scepticism that it will improve things a great deal. Already $1.6 million of public money has been spent on a failed evaluation,” McAllister said.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, a long-time critic of the trials, said she was “sad and worried” for the Queensland communities set to be subjected to “this ideological and punitive card”.

“I am really disappointed that unlike his former Centre Alliance colleagues, crossbencher Senator Tim Storer did not listen to the expert evidence or to the community and instead voted to pass this punitive and demeaning legislation,” Siewert said.

“The evidence from academics, experts and the auditor-general is clear, the evidence isn’t there to justify continuing with the card, yet the government and some of the crossbench have gone ahead.”

The community sector reacted negatively to news of the trial’s expansion on social media. The Australian Council of Social Service said it was “deeply disappointing”, while National Shelter asked why the government persisted with the trial “for which no positive evidence exists”.

Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher welcomed the Senate’s decision, which means up to 15,000 will soon be on the card.

“The card helps people manage their income and stabilise their lives by putting 80 per cent of a person’s welfare payment onto a debit card which can be used to purchase essentials such as food, rent, school supplies and pay bills,” Fletcher said.

“This portion of a person’s welfare payment cannot be used to buy alcohol, gamble or withdraw cash.

“Doing nothing is not an option, and combined with an investment of $1 million for support services, the government is helping people in the region to address serious and ongoing issues.”

This latest trial will affect around 6,000 people under 36 on Newstart, Youth Allowance or the Parenting Payment.

The card has been trialled in East Kimberley in Western Australia and Ceduna in South Australia since 2016, and has been in place in Western Australia’s Goldfields region since March this year.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.


Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

3 Comments

  • Avatar Martin Jackson says:

    This scheme is a disgrace! It is punitive, bereft of compassion and is part of a right wing agenda to dehumanise vulnerable people. Shame on these senators. Shame on Australia!

    • Avatar Wendy Parker says:

      So agree with you Martin it is so discriminatory and sinister and gives us apartheid by $$$$$ and division of social security and those not on social security payments. Discrimination will be commonplace if this continues.

      • Avatar Bill Prescott says:

        Any system that goes toward supporting that publicly funded welfare funds are used solely for the necessary and beneficial purposes intended cannot be all bad.
        How would the proposed card system denying alcohol, gambling, drug, porno publication, etc. purchases to these supported individuals going to hurt them?
        Take a lesson from the current condition of the American Indians.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Stronger together in tackling Australia’s challenges

Cassandra Goldie

Thursday, 23rd May 2019 at 8:30 am

Technology can be a weapon against the nation’s most vulnerable

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 14th May 2019 at 4:29 pm

Coalition missing as Labor and Greens champion charities

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 14th May 2019 at 8:24 am

Social sector demands climate action on the eve of the election

Luke Michael

Friday, 10th May 2019 at 4:40 pm

POPULAR

Morrison vows to prioritise NDIS following election win

Luke Michael

Monday, 20th May 2019 at 4:05 pm

Guide dogs business venture set to shake up traditional charity model

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 13th May 2019 at 4:11 pm

Australia set to face UN scrutiny over disability rights

Luke Michael

Friday, 17th May 2019 at 4:45 pm

Good360
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!