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Communities given false hope on Cashless Debit Card exit by Government and ALP

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 2 Jul 2019

The Australian Greens have expressed concern for the people of Ceduna, East Kimberley, the Goldfields and Hinkler regions who were given false hope that it would become easier to get an exemption from the Cashless Debit Card from today.

“Unfortunately, the concerns I raised regarding the exemption process back in April have come to pass and there are a lot of people who are very frustrated right now,” Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“Not only did the ALP collude with the Government to gag debate and rush the punitive Cashless debit Card extension through the Senate in April, they gave false hopes to communities that they would make it easier to exit the program.

“As feared, the Government has not provided a clear process or criteria for exiting the Cashless Debit Card if you can demonstrate 'reasonable and responsible management of financial affairs'.

"There are no timelines, no criteria, no transparency, apparently no appointments or forms to fill in, it sounds like the Government is operating on a wing and a prayer.

“People from around the country have been expressing hope that July 1 would be the date that they have the opportunity to get off this punitive card that is causing people on low incomes such hardship and once again they have been let down.

“People on low incomes are some of the best managers of money in the community, because every single dollar counts and this card just makes their life harder.

“Income management is a failed measure – it failed to address disadvantage in the NT and it’s failing now. 

“This is bad policy which is why the ALP ganged up with the Government to gag debate and the Senate didn’t get a chance to debate this bill and scrutinise the exemption process.”


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Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180


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