Youth unemployment has decreased significantly in Hervey Bay and Bundaberg, Queensland’s Cashless Debit Card (CDC) trial sites.
Minister for Social Services Anne Ruston announced today that the number of people on Newstart or Youth Allowance had dropped considerably in the six months since the trials began. In Bundaberg, the percentage fell 8.7 per cent or 502 people, to 5277 recipients. In Hervey Bay, the decrease was double that of the national decrease in unemployment over the same period, at 10 per cent.
These latest positive results have reignited calls for a national roll-out of the card.
The CDC looks and functions like a regular bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol, gambling products or to withdraw cash. Cardholders receive 80 per cent of their welfare benefit on the card. The other 20 per cent is deposited into a standard bank account and is available to be withdrawn as cash.
Minderoo Foundation’s Generation One has been visiting and engaging with community members in CDC trial sites around the country. These latest figures from Queensland build on the positive feedback these visits have been collecting.
Minderoo Foundation chief executive Andrew Hagger is pleased the CDC trials are going well.
“I’m thrilled to hear the results from Queensland today,” Mr Hagger said.
“The CDC is a circuit breaker; it was developed to provide people with the support they need to make healthy decisions. I’m excited for what the future holds for these young people in Queensland,” Mr Hagger said.
“The rest of the country is looking closely at these trial sites and seeing their success. Generation One is ready to assist Minister Ruston and the government in any way that we can. We are committed to working with communities and participants to improve the CDC and continue this positive trajectory.”
Over the last several months, Generation One policy analyst Ann Mills has spent time in the East Kimberly, a CDC trial site in Western Australia.
“I spoke to both CDC holders and other members of the community when I was on the ground in Wyndham and Kununurra,” Ms Mills said.
“The CDC is changing lives. Although there’s still work to do, the community is already seeing results. The most common thing I’ve been hearing is how well the kids in the community have been doing. They’re coming to school more often and with full stomachs.”
“It’s people who have started using the card and have felt its benefits that are often its strongest supporters.” Ms Mills said.
An initiative of the Minderoo Foundation, Generation One is committed to ending the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.