Cashless debit card to be rolled out in WA’s Goldfields

February 13, 2018

The federal government's cashless debit card will be expanded to Western Australia's Goldfields region after legislation cleared the Senate.

 

SBS reports existing sites in Ceduna in South Australia and WA's East Kimberley area will have their trials extended to June 2019 after Australian Conservatives leader and South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi was joined by other crossbenchers in supporting the bill.

Under the scheme, 80 per cent of a welfare recipient's income is loaded onto a non-cash debit card which cannot be used to gamble or buy alcohol.

Labor and the Greens opposed any new trial sites, whilst the Nick Xenophon Team - chastened by this blast from Senator Bernardi for putting the debit card trials in jeopardy - accepted a restricted trial extension to the single WA site.

But community leaders say the card had made their communities safer by addressing welfare-fuelled violence and misery.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, "The cashless debit card is not for everyone but if the community has stepped up and asked for help, we should put politics aside and listen."

Liberal frontbencher Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said research found the scheme had been effective in reducing alcohol consumption and gambling.

The bill will now return to the lower house for amendments to be approved.

 

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