QCOSS stands with the people of Hinkler impacted by the cashless debit card

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Do you have questions or concerns about the Cashless Debit Card trial in Queensland? QCOSS is engaging with local people and community services about the trial and we want to hear from you.

Latest update

Last week the federal parliament passed the law to introduce the Cashless Debit Card in Queensland. This will target the federal electorate of Hinkler, which includes Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. QCOSS stands with the local “say no” campaigners and shares their devastation that this new law has been passed.

QCOSS believes it is fundamentally flawed to address complex health and social issues through changes to the welfare system. We do not support mandatory income management through a Cashless Debit Card and believe that participation in any trial should only be on a voluntary basis and supported by a suite of relevant support services.

We have strongly opposed moves to expand the Cashless Debit Card trials, but the Australian Government has continued to ignore evidence and community perspectives in pressing ahead with the expansion of the trial.

The Auditor General has found major flaws in the evaluation of the Cashless Debit Card trials. No reduction in social harm has been proven in the evaluations that were done. This is not surprising given that the trials do not include strategies to reduce social harms of unemployment, or of problematic gambling, alcohol and drug use. The introduction of the card can only work to further demonise people accessing income support.

Who will be affected?

Residents of the Hinkler electorate receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment, who are under 36 years of age, will have 80 per cent of their Centrelink payment quarantined onto the Cashless Debit Card. This is expected to be about 6,700 people. The card not only prevents the purchase of prohibited items that include alcohol and some gambling items, it also restricts access to cash.

Next steps

At this stage it is not clear when the trial will begin but QCOSS will continue to work with the people and communities of Hinkler to help them get ready, and to work with the Australian Government to understand what the trial will really mean for Hinkler.

If you or your organisation is likely to be working with clients who will become participants in the Cashless Debit Card trial, QCOSS would like to hear from you. If you have questions, concerns, or relevant services to support participants, please contact Rodney Holmes at QCOSS via [email protected]

Read our Cashless Debit Card Policy Statement

Read our review of the Cashless Debit Card Evaluation

18 September 2018