Media Release by The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Cashless Debit Card trial continues

The Cashless Debit Card will improve the lives of people in three communities after legislation passed today that guarantees the card’s trial continues.

The House today passed the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017 [Provisions] which extended the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) trial until mid-2019 and added the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region in Western Australia as a trial site.

The Cashless Debit Card has been operating in Ceduna, South Australia, since 15 March 2016 and East Kimberley, Western Australia, since 26 April 2016.

In the trial, 80 per cent of a person’s welfare payment is placed onto the Cashless Debit Card where it cannot be spent on alcohol or gambling, or to withdraw cash.

Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan said the legislation would provide certainty in the two communities already using the card.

“The Cashless Debit Card was introduced to break the cycle of welfare dependency by helping people manage their income,” Mr Tehan said.

“After 12 months of operation, people living in Ceduna and East Kimberley reported that drinking, drug taking and gambling had decreased. The Cashless Debit Card is making a difference.

“The Prime Minister visited Kalgoorlie-Boulder and met with local community leaders who told him they wanted more tools to address the devastating impact of alcohol, drugs and gambling on their people. It is significant that this community can now access the card. It will make a real difference to people’s lives.

“I will continue working with all parties to expand the rollout of the card, including Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.”