Thu, 04 Apr - 14:55
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Media Release: Morrison Government extends successful Cashless Debit Card

The Morrison Government today passed legislation through Parliament to extend the successful Cashless Debit Card, in the first three trial areas of Ceduna, the East Kimberley and the Goldfields.

Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher said the passage of the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019 means the Cashless Debit Card will continue to support vulnerable people, families and communities until 30 June 2020.

“Introduced by the Liberal National Government, the Cashless Debit Card is one of the most positive developments in welfare for decades, making a real difference in the lives of thousands of Australians,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The Cashless Debit Card offers a more streamlined approach to welfare quarantining and benefits to taxpayers, with operational costs of well under $1,000 per head in the most recent expansion site.”

“By extending the trial until 30 June 2020 under this legislation, the Government can continue to test the effectiveness and benefits of the card.

“A second independent impact evaluation has commenced and will provide valuable evidence on the medium to longer-term impacts of the trial in the Ceduna and East Kimberley regions, as well as early outcomes in the Goldfields region.

Mr Fletcher said that these communities put their hands up for this initiative because they were determined to tackle the scourge of welfare-funded drug, alcohol and gambling abuse in their communities.

“Our Liberal National Government is creating a better welfare system through measures like the Cashless Debit Card - which helps Australians exercise personal responsibility to improve their lives and their communities,” Mr Fletcher said.

The Cashless Debit Card has been operating in the Ceduna region, South Australia, since 15 March 2016, the East Kimberley region, Western Australia, since 26 April 2016, the Goldfields region, Western Australia since 26 March 2018 and the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region since 29 January 2019.

The legislation passed today does not include the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region as it is already legislated until 30 June 2020.

The current Cape York Income Management model will also be extended for 12 months within Cape York Welfare Reform communities to provide ongoing assistance to those currently supported by the program.

“Unlike Labor and the Greens our Liberal National Government is committed to the principle of mutual obligation – and we believe the Cashless Debit Card is an effective way of supporting Australians on welfare to have more control of their lives,” Mr Fletcher said.