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Government must learn from the past and abandon top-down healthy welfare card

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today that it is disappointing the Federal Government is pressing on with the healthy welfare card despite overwhelming evidence that income management is ineffective and that this measure is just as likely to be ineffective.

"Late last year the Government released the Evaluation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory final report, which showed that this wasteful and expensive regime had failed to deliver on its objectives.

"Rather than being a justification for a healthy welfare card, this report showed that the government's commitment to such a flawed approach is driven by nothing more than ideology.

“This begs the question: why are millions being ploughed into propelling this measure forward when the evidence shows it is more than likely to fail?

“Income management has proved ineffective in addressing disadvantage; the evidence just isn’t there to justify the expansion of income management via the healthy welfare card. 

"Just attempting to cut off access to financial resources will not address substance abuse or gambling, intensive support programs, rehabilitation and addressing the causes of disadvantage are essential.

“The whole measure is discriminatory, punitive, bureaucratic, unrealistic and impractical. 

“I urge the Government to abandon top down approaches that have failed in the past and will fail again and to work closely with communities and leaders to address disadvantage.”

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