Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Labor must reveal how it will help Cashless Debit Card communities

Coalition MPs are calling on the Albanese Government to outline how it will help people in their communities once the Cashless Debit Card program is removed. 

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt, Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey and Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson say the Cashless Debit Card has helped address long-standing issues in their communities.  

Labor introduced legislation in the Parliament today (27 July 2022) to wind back the trials. As at 3 June 2022 there are more than 17,000 people on the Cashless Debit Card in Australia. 

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said Labor made an election promise to stop the Cashless Debit Card program but has never offered an alternative. 

“Labor have well and truly put the cart before the horse. They said they’d consult with communities  before making change, but they have not said how they will address the complex issues that each of the Cashless Debit Card trial sites face,” Mr Pitt said. 

“I’ve said many times that Cashless Debit Card is not a silver bullet, it’s just one tool in the toolbox to help our communities, and it has had a positive impact: children are going to school with lunch and are getting the essentials and rent rolls are being paid. 

“It’s not acceptable to me, or the community I represent, if Labor decides to just do nothing. 

“The Albanese Government also needs to explain what will happen to the $30 million Jobs Fund and Job Ready Package which was to upskill Cashless Debit Card participants to help them secure employment.”  

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said most residents of Ceduna have grave concerns for what is likely to happen when the card is gutted. 

“The Government needs to inform the community now what it intends to do if the worst fears of the community are realised,” he said.  

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said Minister Rishworth misrepresented the former Government in today’s addresses to Parliament. 

“I feel I need to clarify that in the Goldfields region of my electorate, there were over 270 consultations with community prior to the introduction of the Cashless Debit Card,” he said. 

“No community was forced onto the Card, and the wishes of two remote communities to be excluded was honoured. 

“To date the five Local Government Authorities of the Goldfields CDC trial site have not been visited by any Labor Minister, nor have they been consulted on the withdrawal of the Card. They all remain supportive of its continuation. 

“In addition, their locally focused Jobs Ready initiatives have successfully transitioned many CDC participants into meaningful employment. These programs now appear to be under threat.”   

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