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Media Release: Cashless Debit Card extension will protect our most vulnerable

Minderoo Foundation today welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement the Card would be rolled out across two further trial sites, at Hervey Bay and Bundaberg in Queensland.

Following the announcement made by Human Services Minister, the Hon. Alan Tudge MP, Minderoo Spokesperson, Dougall Ethell said:

“The independent evaluation has provided the evidence to know that the Card will have a positive impact on the region.  It’s not a silver bullet, but with the added investment in wrap-around services that come with the Card, it can empower people to break out of the welfare cycle.”

Noting that the Cashless Debit Card was a key recommendation from Mr. Andrew Forrest’s ‘Forrest Review: Creating Parity’ report to assist vulnerable communities dealing the effects of drug, alcohol and gambling misuse, Mr Ethell said:

“We applaud the government’s decision to extend the trial to a further two sites, which was made after extensive community consultation.”

Mr Ethell said the most positive impact to date in the towns where the card had been trialed were the improvements of the quality of life of women and children.

“The Cashless Debit Card is working, and it is working to transform lives by empowering those people stuck in a cycle of welfare. Most importantly, the Cashless Debit Card protects communities, particularly little children and women, from the dreadful impacts of cash welfare in vulnerable communities,” Mr Ethell said.

“We already know it is small children and women who suffer the most when welfare is allowed to be freely spent on drugs, alcohol and gambling. Tragically, the negative impacts of all of these habits often turns to violence in the home.”

In the latest independent assessment of the Cashless Debit Card, those surveyed reported:

  • 41% of drinkers are drinking less;
  • 48% of drug users are using drugs less;
  • 48% of gamblers are gambling less; and
  • 45% were able to save more money.

One of the 27 recommendations of the Forrest Review: Creating Parity  report stated that, if implemented, the Cashless Debit Card would save lives, transform education outcomes for children, improve employment outcomes for vulnerable Australians and save billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money –  all by eliminating the disparity between vulnerable members of the community and other Australians.

“We remain committed to the Cashless Debit Card, which will make a positive and profound difference to the lives of those who need our support, our love and our care most,” Mr Ethell said.



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