Opposition to the Cashless Debit Card Trial in Hinkler has increased
A QCOSS survey on the Cashless Debit Card Trial (CDCT) in Hinkler has found that even more people are opposed to the card now that the trial has been running in the region for several months.
Eighty one per cent of respondents opposed the CDCT outright, compared to 65 per cent before the card was introduced.
The federal government introduced compulsory income management through the Cashless Debit Card Trial (CDCT) to the Hinkler electorate, including Hervey Bay and Bundaberg, in January 2019. The trial is intended to target youth unemployment, and the reduction of consumption of alcohol, drugs and gambling, by quarantining 80 per cent of people’s income support onto a restricted debit card. The government has claimed strong community support for the introduction of CDCT in the region.
QCOSS ran two Cashless Debit Card Trial (CDCT) surveys in Hinkler. The first in December 2018 to January 2019 and a follow-up survey ran from September to October 2019.
The follow-up survey had strong engagement from the community with 182 responses, (up 42 per cent on the 128 responses to our first survey). These responses were primarily from individuals (92 per cent). More than half of respondents are either on the CDCT themselves or have family on the CDCT. Of the respondents from organisations, 36 per cent have clients in scope for the cashless debit card.
People with experience of being on the card reported problems with health or mental health issues, rent problems, stigma and discrimination, cards being declined and cash-only opportunities missed.
“My card’s declined at supermarkets and petrol stations, I’ve been publicly shamed when using my card, rents declined, missed out on second-hand goods, can’t shop at roadside stalls or markets, my kids have missed out on tuck shop and fundraiser school events”
“I feel embarrassed to pull my card out and pay at places so I will often avoid shopping on busy days as the added stress makes my anxiety unmanageable”
“I personally have been called a junkie and a dole bludger at the supermarket”
The results of these two surveys make it clear that contrary to claims made by the federal government, there is strong community opposition to the CDCT in Hinkler. This opposition has grown since the card was introduced in the region in January 2019. People with lived experience of being on the CDCT, are even more strongly opposed to it.
QCOSS remains opposed to the implementation of the CDCT. We believe addressing complex health and social issues, such as alcohol, drug and gambling problems, through the welfare system is fundamentally flawed. Evidence indicates that the CDCT is ineffective, expensive, harmful, unsupported, discriminatory and paternalistic.
Read the results of the first survey in January 2019 here.
Read our Position Statement on the Cashless Debit Card Trial here.