The Australian Greens oppose the Government’s bill to expand the cashless welfare card trials in its entirety, and have dissented from the Community Affairs committee report into the Bill.
“The ORIMA report into the effectiveness of the card in current trial sites is flawed, it doesn't show proof of concept as the Government alleges and has been harshly criticised by independent academics”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“It is clear that any further expansion of the trials, whether it be prolonging the trial in existing trial sites or expanding to new trial sites should not go ahead and are not justified on the trials results.
“I welcome Labor opposing the rollout of the cashless welfare card in Bundaberg and the Goldfields, but I'm disappointed they support existing trial sites being extended in Ceduna and the East Kimberley.
“It is good they have listened to evidence given to the senate inquiry, the independent academic assessment of the ORIMA report and the local communities and decided to oppose expanded cashless welfare card trials in Bundaberg and the Goldfields.
“However, with acknowledgement of ‘widespread criticism of the evaluation and the effectiveness of the card’, you have to wonder why the Labor party aren’t opposing the cashless welfare card in its entirety.
“Residents in Ceduna and the East Kimberley should not continue to be forced to live under this flawed approach.
“I have flagged for a long time the major flaws of income management, the widespread community opposition and the long-standing evidence that compulsory income management does not work.
“I urge the Government and Labor party to consider the latest information on the trials and to completely abandon this failed approach. No-one deserves to have their autonomy taken away from them to their detriment as part of a Government funded experiment”.
You can read the Australian Greens dissenting report into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017 here.