Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Government unveils the Income Management BasicsCard

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon. Joe Ludwig, Minister for Human Services

The Rudd Labor Government has taken the first step in delivering a better system of income management by introducing the new income management card.

The BasicsCard will make it easier for people on income management to put food on the table for children and reduce red-tape for business.

The name and design of the card have been unveiled by Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs , Jenny Macklin, and Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig.

“The Rudd Government is determined to ensure people on income management can easily buy the essential goods and services they need to improve the lives of their children and families,” Ms Macklin said.

“Income management is an important measure for ensuring welfare payments are spent in the interests of children and is a key plank of the Government’s strategy to strengthen community safety and improve the protection of children.”

Income management ensures half of welfare payments are used to buy essential items.

“The BasicsCard will provide a simpler system of income management for both customers and shops” Senator Ludwig said.

“The current system has been difficult to use and costly for government, imposing red tape on business as well as being time consuming for customers.”

The BasicsCard is a PIN-protected card for buying essential goods and services through the existing EFTPOS network.

It cannot be used to buy alcohol, tobacco, pornography or gambling products or to withdraw cash.

Work associated with the rollout of the BasicsCard will begin immediately.

The final rollout schedule will be determined in consultation with communities and retailers.

A key benefit of the BasicsCard is that it can be reloaded from a customer?s payment each fortnight without the need to visit Centrelink.

“The BasicsCard will significantly reduce red tape for retailers ? using it will involve the same simple process as any other EFTPOS transaction,” Senator Ludwig said.

“Stores will have special signs so customers can easily tell where they can use the BasicsCard.”

Local Federal MP, Minister Warren Snowden, and Territory Local Member Alison Anderson have been vocal about how the previous system was working. Their feedback helped shape this solution.

For most customers, the BasicsCard will replace the existing income management system which uses store cards and accounts.

Customers will still be able to use store cards, direct payment to stores or retailers under certain circumstances.

The BasicsCard will be supported and supplied by card transaction provider, Retail Decisions.

Retail Decisions will be responsible for providing the card itself and the processing required to facilitate transactions through the EFTPOS system by customers on income management.