With the Government’s clear ideological intention to expand the cashless welfare card trials throughout regional Australia, Senator Rachel Siewert has announced plans to move to disallow the Ceduna trial when Parliament resumes next week.
“There were many concerned that the three trial sites supported by both the Government and Labor would see the rollout of this so called trial across Australia. Unfortunately it looks like those concerns were well founded”, said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.
“A cashless welfare card is not the way to tackle gambling and drug and alcohol abuse. The proposal to expand the use of the card further emphasises the need to disallow the regulation that allows the trial to take place in Ceduna when Parliament resumes.
“The Government could not even conceal its intent to rollout this measure throughout Australia until after the trials were completed. Just a few months after the trials were passed into legislation, an extended rollout is being spruiked.
“Let me be clear here, when the trials were passed into legislation with the help of Labor, the measure had gaping holes and unanswered questions - particularly around logistics and the cards capacity to entrench poverty. These gaps still remain.
“It was always income management on steroids. The card worryingly echoes income management measures that occurred (and still unfortunately remain) during the Northern Territory Intervention. Report after report have shown this approach is flawed.
“Again I will ask: what happens when someone goes to a second hand shop, a garage sale, needs money for the bus, there is an EFTPOS minimum or a merchants surcharge? What happens when you lose your card but cannot go into a bank to pull cash out? The level of control over people’s lives if this card goes ahead is astounding and wrong.
“The Australian Greens will remain the lone party in Parliament who oppose the card, standing up for people on income support who are doing the right thing. Not only is this card overbearing and controlling, it suggests that anyone accessing income support in rural Australia is abusing drugs, alcohol, or has a gambling problem.
“I will continue to ask the Government to explain the logistics of the card and how they intend to support those that will hit barriers as a result of the forced rollout of the measure over the three trial sites and beyond”.