7 December 2017

The St Vincent de Paul Society has urged Federal Parliament to reject the extension of the cashless debit card trial, following the release of the Senate Inquiry report on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017.

“The cashless debit card is an expensive and ineffective measure that takes choice, control and dignity away from people trying to live off very little,” said Dr John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council.

As expected, the Senate Inquiry report reaches no consensus on the card, but rather the recommendations are split along party lines.

In a briefing paper released by the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council, a number of concerns are raised about the continuation of the cashless debit card, including the lack of supporting evidence, significant shortcomings in the evaluation of the trial, the considerable expense involved, and evidence of increased hardship for some individuals and families.

“The Government has ignored evidence of the detrimental effects of the cashless welfare card, cherry-picking and misrepresenting the findings of the evaluation to justify a measure that is driven by ideology rather than evidence”, said Dr Falzon.

Taking power from whole communities by removing their ability to control their small amounts of income support will not encourage responsibility, but only thwart it.

MEDIA CONTACT: Len Baglow 0400 845 492 or media@svdp.org.au

See also: our Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Cashless Welfare Card Bill 2017