WELFARE POSITION: Jenny Macklin says the ALP is against the Cashless Debit Card being trialled in Hinkler at this stage and wants more information to be released.
WELFARE POSITION: Jenny Macklin says the ALP is against the Cashless Debit Card being trialled in Hinkler at this stage and wants more information to be released. Geordi McDougall

Cashless card gets no support from Labor

LABOR has refused to back a trial of the Cashless Debit Card in Bundaberg until it's convinced the project can deliver its stated objectives.

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Jenny Macklin told the NewsMail yesterday there was currently insufficient credible evidence to support the expansion of further trials of the card.

Her comments came after the government last week announced in the Budget that it was looking to roll out the card in Hinkler.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt is pushing for legislation to go before parliament before the mid-winter break in August.

Ms Macklin said Labor was disappointed the costs of the Hinkler rollout had not been released.

"The flawed Orima Evaluation of the existing trials in Ceduna and the East Kimberley was inconclusive,” Ms Macklin said.

"Labor supports the extension of the Ceduna and the East Kimberley trials to 30 June 2019.

"However we don't support a national roll out of the cashless debit card. We don't support the trial in Bundaberg.”

Ms Macklin said the vast majority of social security recipients were more than capable of managing their own finances.

"Given the significant cost of the trials, an accrued cost of around $25.5 million or about $12,000 per participant, we need to be confident that the cashless card can deliver its stated objectives,” she said.

"It is disappointing that the Government has refused to reveal the cost of the proposed rollout of the card to the Hinkler region.”

Mr Pitt has long advocated for the income management scheme that would quarantine 80 per cent of some welfare recipients' payments to an eftpos card, eliminating the largescale purchase of alcohol or gambling.

In February, the Senate blocked a trial of the card for Hinkler, with three South Australian Senators including Nick Xenophon saying they'd need more information before they supported its roll-out in Hinkler.

Mr Pitt's office yesterday referred the NewsMail to the office of Social Services Minister Dan Tehan.



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