Thursday, 10 December 2020

Media Statement from Keith Pitt MP on Cashless Debit Card extension

MEDIA STATEMENT FROM KEITH PITT MP ON CASHLESS DEBIT CARD EXTENSION 

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt has welcomed the two-year extension of the Cashless Debit Card trial in Hinkler.

“Legislation to extend the trial until December 2022 passed the Senate last night and the amendments passed the House of Representatives today.

“The trial in my view has made a positive difference in the lives of the people in Hinkler. Covid has clearly had a big impact on our community, however, during the pandemic, more welfare has been spent on groceries, homewares, footwear, clothing and furniture.

“In a speech to Parliament in May 2017 which I stand by today, I said: ‘Change is difficult. Change will be hard. Change will be controversial. But change is absolutely necessary. It is absolutely worth the attempt. We have an opportunity with the cashless debit card to make change for our community.’

“I’ve always said this would be a difficult policy to introduce, but I’ve never run from something just because it was difficult. 

“The feedback that we have had is very clear: it makes a difference, it does work, and we will continue the trial until 2022. We will monitor where improvements could be made, but once again, it works.

“The Government remains committed to promoting positive outcomes for communities and the responsible spending of welfare payments.”

The Cashless Debit Card quarantines 80 per cent of welfare recipients’ payments on to the card so it cannot be spent on alcohol, gambling or withdraw as cash.

The Hinkler trial started in January 2019 and applies to people aged 35 and under who receive JobSeeker, Youth Allowance (JobSeeker), Parenting Payment (Partnered) and Parenting Payment (Single). 

Cashless Debit Card recipients with questions about their card can contact the hotline on 1800 252 604, visit the shopfronts in Bundaberg or Hervey Bay to get one-on-one assistance or they visit the Department of Social Services website: www.dss.gov.au/cashless-debit-card.

The Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre and IMPACT Community Services have full-time case managers to assist Cashless Debit Card holders access services including financial counselling, parenting programs, education and training.

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