The Australian Senate today took a gamble passing law to introduce the cashless debit card onto the Fraser Coast in Queensland.
QCOSS strongly opposes any moves to expand 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.
“It is fundamentally flawed to address complex health and social issues through changes to the welfare system,” said QCOSS Acting CEO Karen Murphy. “We stand with the local no campaigners and share their devastation that this has been passed.”
“Communities need a government that will walk alongside them to build inclusion – to bring people together, and ideas like the cashless debit card only work to divide communities.
“The Auditor General has found major flaws in the monitoring and evaluation of the Cashless Debit Card Trials. No reduction in social harm has been proven in any of the evaluation that has been done.”
“The introduction of this card can only work to further demonise people accessing income support, divide the community, and with no clear evidence that it works the Australian Government is gambling with the lives of people experiencing vulnerability.”
“If the driver for choosing Hinkler is youth unemployment (as cited in the Bill), then put in place programs to address employment – the cashless debit card in no way addresses unemployment.”
“If the driver is about addressing gambling, alcohol and drug taking then put in place services to address these issues.”
QCOSS will continue to work with the people and communities of Hinkler to help they get ready and work with the Australian Government to understand and share what this really means.
For nearly 60 years QCOSS has been a leading force for social change to eliminate poverty and disadvantage.