Report reveals benefits of cashless card: Pitt

FEDERAL Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the Final Evaluation report released today into the Cashless Debit Card trials has shown a significant improvement on a range of issues from child welfare to alcohol abuse.

The evaluation found 41% of drinkers reported drinking less and 37% binge drinking less; 48% of gamblers reported gambling less; 48% of drug takers reporting using illegal drugs less often.

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The reports also found that 40 percent of participants who had caring responsibility reported that they had been better able to care for their children (up from 31 percent at Wave 1).

"When I first started talking about the Cashless Debit Card I said it could be the catalyst for positive change in the Hinkler electorate.

"While no decision has been made if the Cashless Debit Card will be implemented in this community, the ORIMA Research report released today reinforces the positive impact the card is having on the trial sites.

Reports suggest drinking has gone down in trial sites.
Reports suggest drinking has gone down in trial sites. Pixabay

"There has been a decrease in requests for emergency food relief and financial assistance in Ceduna, and merchant reports of increased purchases of baby items, food, clothing, shoes, toys and other goods for children.

"Welfare payments are to help people in a time of need and should be spent on the essentials of life: rent, food, clothing and equipment for school."

Mr Pitt said another positive outcome noted in the report was an increase in participants saying they have been better able to save money: 45 percent, up from 31 percent at Wave 1.

"While people who oppose the card are yet to offer any alternative, the Cashless Debit Card could have significant outcomes for people and their families in Hinkler."

See here for the ORIMA Research Cashless Debit Card Trial Final Evaluation Report.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge will today announce the government's intention to expand the mandatory participation trials into another community.

Labor is yet to commit to the card and may join the Greens in blocking it in the Senate any moves to broaden the trial to other communities.

The evaluation findings indicate that the trial has had a considerable positive impact in both trial sites.

Qualitative research suggested the card had led to greater use of public facilities by families and the community feeling safer.

Almost 40 per cent of parents and carers reported that they spent more time involved in their children's schooling and homework, and 45 per cent of participants in the scheme said they were now saving money.

"There was a large degree of support from stakeholders and community leaders for the CDC to be extended across the country because of the positive changes that had been observed as a result of the trial, which were considered to be applicable on a broader scale," the report said.

"The evaluation findings indicate that the trial has had a considerable positive impact in both trial sites.

"The qualitative researc found considerable evidence cited by many community leaders and stakeholders of a reduction in violence and harmful behaviours."

Ceduna Mayor Allan Suter said the improvements to people's lives in just 12 months had been "stunning" after the card was trialed there.

Ceduna mayor Allan Suter.
Ceduna mayor Allan Suter. ABC

"The improvement we are most proud of is in the lives of families … it has been really quite amazing," Mr Suter said.

"Kids have been missing out on food because parents were pouring (money) down the throats of pokies … it is the most dramatic improvement I've seen. I've been involved for 14 years through council in trying a series of initiatives, some of them have given good results in the short term … but this is certainly the most significant change for the better I've seen.

"The results on the ground reflect the report … we have noticed a series of dramatic improvements, most notably the decrease in the amount of alcohol and gambling … and, while its harder to measure, a significant decrease in drug use."

The statistics of the most recent report are different than those in Orima's interim report on the Cashless Debit Card trial sites, which was released in February.

It said:

• 25% of people who said they drank reported drinking less;
• 25% of people who said they binge drank reported binge drinking less;
• 32% of people who said they gambled reported gambling less.

That report found 31% of participants said they were better able to save and care for their children.

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