The announcement by the Prime Minister today confirming that the Goldfields will be the next trial site for the cashless welfare card is extremely disappointing. It imposes income management on people on income support in the region, taking control and agency.
“I am concerned about the impacts this will have on people in the Goldfields community, particularly those on a working age payment who are on a shoestring budget and cannot afford to have their income quarantined against their will" Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“There is divided opinion in the community about the card being trialed in the region so this announcement will no doubt be distressing for those that spoke up and said they did not want it.
“The cashless welfare card quarantines the payments of anyone on a working age payment, including the Disability Support Pension, Youth Allowance, Carers Payment and Newstart.
“Evidence shows that taking choice, control and agency away from people does not have positive results. We heard about that just this week in evidence to the inquiry into the Government's proposal to drug test people trying to access income support.
“In Kununurra some key crime stats have gone up since the trial was introduced. This may be an indication that people are finding other avenues to access cash. Before anybody can do any analysis of the final evaluation report, the third site has been announced. The previous report was flawed, I lack confidence in the Government’s analysis.
“This Government continues to take a punitive, demonising top down approach to our social security scheme, it is demonising and undermining peoples' ability to find work and does not address the underlying causes of disadvantage”.