The Government has today introduced legislation that will make the Cashless Debit Card permanent in the current trial sites and introduce it to the Northern Territory and Cape York.
“This is a toxic piece of legislation. The Cashless Debit Card is denying people their dignity and quality of life”, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said.
The Cashless Debit Card is a punitive program that punishes people simply because they are on income support.
Just because people are without employment it does not mean that they cannot manage their finances. It is insulting and paternalistic.
This Government has an agenda and it is stigmatising and demeaning people who need to access the social safety net.
This Bill also removes the cap on the number of people who could be placed on the Cashless Debit Card which is currently capped at 15,000 people. The Minister needs to come clean about whether the pause on Jobseeker recipients being placed on the Cashless Debit Card will continue or not.
It is highly likely that people newly on income support will now be put on the card.
The Northern Territory has been devastated by the impacts of income management brought in with the Intervention.
The ANAO found that there was no evidence that there had been a reduction in social harm in the so-called trial sites. Similarly the final evaluation of income management as part of the NT Intervention found that it met none of its objectives. The ORIMA evaluation and the Evaluation by the University of Adelaide have been called into question by numerous experts because no baseline data was collected to make any comparison to and they relied heavily on hand picked anecdotal reports, flawed methodology and a push polling type approach.
Compulsory Income Management in all its various forms should be abandoned and the resources invested in approaches that are therapeutic, individualised and are genuinely supported by the community.
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180