Only 28 people have had their applications to be exempted from the cashless debit card approved out of a total of 859 applications.
“These applications were only processed in the two weeks before Estimates, despite the exemption process officially being in place since July 2019 although not operational until sometime after that.
“Why has it take the Department so long to start processing these applications and can the remaining hundreds of people expect to hear soon about their application?
“Since day one there has been no timelines or transparency around this process
“People from around the country had been expressing hope that July 1 2019 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.
“It’s more and more clear from questioning the Department last night that there are more holes in the Government’s cashless debit card scheme than a sieve.
“The Minister says under their proposed new transition process that it’s up to shops to code and block restricted items like alcohol so people on the card can’t buy them but the Government can’t tell us how they will enforce this rule with retailers – who will be checking up on their “coding” system?
“The Government has not measured the cost the card is having on small businesses and appear to be only consulting with big corporations who can afford to absorb the extra cost of the cashless debit card.
“The Minister could sight no evidence that the card is working and wouldn’t tell Estimates when the long awaited University of Adelaide evaluation would be released.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180