Federal government continues to ignore strong opposition in latest Cashless Debit Card Trial Inquiry

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Our elected federal policy makers have continued to ignore evidence and strong community opposition in the fourth Senate Inquiry Committee report on the Cashless Debit Card Trials. The overwhelming majority of the 108 submissions to the inquiry oppose the Bill to extend and expand the trials, yet the federal government continues to push ahead with these failed trials.

Every Australian has a right to social security – it is a human right. The continued push to extend and expand these trials is breaching people’s human rights.

In our most recent survey on the Cashless Debit Card Trial (CDCT) Hinkler, the number of respondents who outright oppose the trial in the region has increased to 81 per cent.

What’s more concerning is the personal problems people with experience of being on the card are reporting, including health or mental health issues, rent problems, stigma and discrimination, cards being declined, and cash-only opportunities missed:

  • “Everything to do with my finances has become more difficult. Indue doesn’t pay bills on time which leads to defaults and extra fees. Because money is split it makes it harder to budget. I no longer get interest on my savings as I can’t save due to 80% going to Indue”
  • “We get degraded and called dole bludgers.. I am a mother of two and I have a spinal injury from working as a jillaroo for 7yrs! I don’t want to be made to feel like a second-class citizen in my own country!”
  • “I suffer from anxiety, depression, severe stress disorder and PTSD. I was in a DV relationship for 5 years where my money was controlled by my abuser. I left him over a year ago and now I am back in a DV relationship with Indue. My health has deteriorated. I suffer from chronic migraines, they have increasingly gotten more frequent and worse because I stress about money if Indue will pay my bills on time. I also sleep very little of a night due to stress. Overall my health and well-being has gone downhill.”
  • “I suffer from depression and anxiety, both of which have gotten much worse since being forced on the card. I am in counselling because of it”
  • “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’ve been refused by DSS to lodge a formal complaint, I have been spoken to very rudely by DSS and Indue staff on the phone, lost my ability to budget efficiently.”

These are just a few of the personal stories people have relayed in the survey.

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.

We need to create a fair system to support the wellbeing of all Australians.

Read the Cashless Debit Card Trial follow-up Hinkler survey results here (pdf) (Word version)

View the infographic here. (accessible Word version)

Read the results of the first survey in January 2019 here.

Read our Position Statement on the Cashless Debit Card Trial here.

20 November 2019 |Focus area: ,