Economic issues · Malcolm Turnbull

Goldfields to get cashless welfare card after report finds drinking, drug use down

Since I blogged about the trialing of cashless welfare cards for Centrelink recipients back in November 2015, results have been positive.

The cards have been found to reduce alcohol and drug consumption across 2 different communities, with the Goldfields now picked to conduct this experiment.

Barring future findings of this trial contradicting earlier results, these cards should be rolled out across all of Australia, in a bid to better the outcomes for low- income Australians be they black, white, yellow or otherwise.

As when your income comes from the government, demanding that 80 % of it be spent on the raw necessities of life, is a win for hard- working Australian taxpayers, and a win for those with limited access to addictive substances.

For the cause of reasonable decision making, and sensible centre- Right politics, Malcolm Turnbull gets a tick here.

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ABC, by Eliza Laschon, September 1, 2017:

Western Australia’s Goldfields region will become the third site to trial the cashless welfare card, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull describing it as “an exercise in compassion and in love”.

The Federal Government has declared its two other trials a “success”, with a final review released today concluding the cards have reduced alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling.

“Almost half of all drinkers are drinking less, almost half of all gamblers are gambling less and the same with the drug users,” Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said.

“These are great outcomes for these communities and it was exactly what we were seeking.”

The card is designed to limit access to cash and quarantines a majority of people’s welfare money towards a debit card used for essential items like food.

The trials began last year in Kununurra in Western Australia’s East Kimberley and Ceduna in South Australia.

A 300-page report released today found the card rollout had a “considerable positive impact” on both communities.

It also found up to 40 per cent of people believed they were better able to look after their children and able to save more money.

However, there was no improvement in crime statistics, and less than a quarter of participants reported the trial had had a positive impact on their lives.

The Federal Government is using the findings to justify rolling it into the third location, which includes Laverton, Leonora, Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull described the card as “an exercise in compassion and in love”.

“It is a massive, massive factor in improving the lives of those communities, and that is why it has the support in this community in the Goldfields,” Mr Turnbull said….

3 thoughts on “Goldfields to get cashless welfare card after report finds drinking, drug use down

  1. I agree, its a fantastic idea and they are getting great results! I just can’t understand why it costs so much. According to ABC news, nearly as much money is being spent on administrative costs as is given to people receiving welfare.

    “A Federal Government trial restricting how Centrelink recipients can spend their money is costing taxpayers up to about $10,000 per participant. The Newstart allowance for a single person without children is $535.60 per fortnight – less than $14,000 each year.

    Details released under the Freedom of Information show the pilot program is costing up to $18.9 million, excluding GST. The Government is paying the debit card provider, Indue, at least $7.9 million, while the Social Service Department’s administrative costs are $2.6 million. The Commonwealth is also spending $2.6 million on additional supports, such as drug and alcohol services.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-02/cashless-welfare-trial-costing-taxpayers-$10k-per-participant/8488268

    Seems to me like they ought to be getting a much better deal!

    1. That’s a tough one. But then again virtually every government program under the sun costs more than projected. Perhaps if it succeeds in the goldfields, we should end the trial, and instead expand the card nationwide.

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