Media Release by The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Improvements to Cashless Debit Card trial

Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan today welcomed the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report on the implementation and performance of the Cashless Debit Card trial, noting it had confirmed the trials are on track.

The ANAO report found the Department of Social Services had, “established appropriate arrangements for consultation, communicating with communities and for governance of the implementation of the Cashless Debit Card trial. Social Services was responsive to operational issues as they arose during the trial”. The report also identified areas of improvement, which are being addressed.

Mr Tehan said the Department of Social Services had accepted all recommendations in the ANAO report. In line with the ANAO recommendations, DSS has:

  • appointed a Chief Evaluator;
  • implemented a new Data Monitoring Strategy, which uses card data to monitor program performance and identify issues;
  • improved contract management, risk management and procurement practices.

Work has already begun on a second independent evaluation that will satisfy the ANAO recommendations and fully address concerns around monitoring and risk management.

“The Government has extended the Cashless Debit Card trials in Ceduna and East Kimberley and expanded to the Goldfields, based on strong independent evaluation results and extensive consultation with local communities,” Mr Tehan said. “Independent evaluation by Orima Research found gambling, alcohol and drug consumption were reduced in Ceduna and East Kimberley. This finding was supported by feedback from service providers and the communities. 

“The Cashless Debit Card trial is an important element of the Government’s work to reduce welfare-funded social harm, and to help Australians escape welfare dependency. The Cashless Debit Card is making a real difference in the communities where it operates. People are using the cards to pay for every day essential items such as food, clothing and energy bills instead of spending welfare money on alcohol, drugs and gambling.”