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Government pursues punitive cashless debit card despite no evidence it works. Greens call on Labor to commit to abandoning income management

I am gob smacked by the Morrison Government’s announcement that they will be extending the cashless debit card trails and adding a new site, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

"The Government is falsely claiming there is evidence that these trials are working, the evidence is not there, they are simply pursuing their ideological agenda.

"I as in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay earlier this week and the community is devastated by what this card will mean for them and their children.

"Has Mr Morrison and Mr Fletcher bothered to read the ANAO report, the ORIMA report and the final evaluation of the NT Intervention? Income management doesn’t work. The ANAO report found there was not evidence of a reduction in social harm.

“I don't think that anyone in this Government has actually had a conversation with someone on income support, because if they had, they would know that people living close to and below the poverty line are some of the best managers of money.

“Because every single dollar counts and has to be accounted for.

“Control of your personal finances is very important for your dignity and sense of control over your life, the Government takes that away when they impose income management. I have visited all of the trial sites and the NT many times and been to every single senate inquiry hearing into the card where people have shared with me how they get by and manage their money.

“Not only is it cruel to make people already struggling to make ends meet live on small amounts of cash, the Minister hasn't explained how this card will get people in jobs?

“On Tuesday in Hinkler, I was asked, how will people be able pay the rent because they have a cash arrangement with their landlord, how will they buy second hand uniforms for their kids?

“What if my fridge breaks down? I won’t have cash to buy a second hand fridge. I will have to go and buy a new fridge which will mean there is no money left over to actually put food in there.

“How does the card create jobs? How does it help people with addiction and why is there an assumption that every single person on income support is a drug or gambling addict?  These questions can't be answered. 

"This Government has no understanding of what it is like to try and survive on an extremely low income, it is blinkered by ideology, this type of punitive approach needs to be abandoned.

"The money wasted on income management needs to be spent on better employment services, raising Newstart and drug, alcohol and mental health services.

“I am calling on Shorten's Labor to commit to putting a stop to these trials and stopping income management and investing in what works."



Media Contact:

Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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