The Government’s long overdue Evaluation of the CDC in Ceduna, East Kimberley and the Goldfields Region: Consolidated Report has been publicly released over a year and a half after it was due.
"I can see why the Government has been holding on to this report and wouldn’t release it before the Senate debated the extension of the Card late last year. It has nothing definitive to back up the grand claims the Government has been making about this scheme for many years now.
"As I recall, the Cashless Debit Card was going to get people to find work, stop gambling, stop drinking and stop taking illicit drugs. Their evaluation supports none of these grand claims.
"The evaluation is quite clear that it is not possible to attribute changes in trial sites to the Cashless Debit Card alone.
"This evaluation is full of qualifiers like “complex findings” and that “the findings from this evaluation are mostly nuanced and specific, that is, they are findings that may apply up to a point and for some people, but not for others.”
"What the evaluation has found is that “the quantitative evidence suggested that under the current circumstances the majority of CDC participants would prefer to opt out of the CDC trial” and that “feelings of discrimination, embarrassment, shame and unfairness as a result of being on the Card were reported across all trial sites by a majority of CDC participants.”
"If the Government is going to make such significant interventions in people's lives, then they need robust evidence.
"The evaluation itself notes the difficulty in evaluating the so-called trials because they were never set up to be properly evaluated. A point that was repeatedly made when the Card was first introduced.
"These trials were always about targeting First Nations peoples, stigmatising people on income support and those with addiction issues rather than addressing the underlying causes of disadvantage.
"The card is racist and discriminatory and should be abandoned."