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Minderoo Drives Cashless Debit Card Improvements

An historic collaboration, driven by the Minderoo Foundation and some of Australia’s leading technology and retail experts, could lead to transformational improvements for Australian welfare recipients using the Cashless Debit Card and for businesses in accepting the card.

Twenty months after the card was first trialed in South Australia, followed by Western Australia, the Minderoo Foundation delivered a comprehensive Technology Report to the Minster for Human Services, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, with 11 recommendations aimed at smoothing out user issues with the card.

After a successful meeting with the Minister, The Minderoo Foundation’s Mr Bruce Mansfield confirmed the Foundation’s commitment to ensuring the Cashless Debit Card is being implemented in the most effective way possible.

“We know that, in the initial trial sites, the card is helping to reduce alcohol, drug and gambling use by up to 48%,” said Mr Mansfield, a former CEO of eftpos. “But we also know there are improvements that can be made in regard to purchasing. This report addresses that.”

Minderoo has been leading a working group of technology experts from across the banking, retail and government sectors to address the current limitations of the Card. By leveraging their collective knowledge and industry experience, the recommendations in this report encapsulate strong support from those who will ultimately be responsible for orchestrating change.

The key focus of the report has been to provide recommendations to Government to progress social outcomes, improve the participant and merchant experience, create a scalable solution and provide a road map for implementation.

“It has been inspiring to see the level of commitment across the banking and retail sectors and the government. We want all welfare recipients to get a job, make good choices for their family and contribute to their community and the broader economy but we also want to make this Card a symbol of empowerment, not punishment.”

Mr Mansfield paid tribute to all of those who committed time and expertise on working through the implementation challenges and finding cost effective solutions. He also congratulated the Australian Government and Mr Tudge, in particular, for the extensive consultation conducted to ensure the Card is supported and has a positive impact on the individuals, their families and their communities.

The Minderoo Foundation is committed to continuing its close collaboration with the Government, Opposition, stakeholders and the community. END

Media inquiries – Tess Ingram


The Cashless Debit Card works as an effective tool in helping to minimise the social harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption, illegal drug use, and gambling. Card holders receive 80% of their welfare benefit on a debit card and the other 20% is deposited into a standard bank account and is available to be withdrawn as cash. The welfare payment amount remains the same and the Cashless Debit Card only applies to those on working aged benefits, not aged or veteran pensions. The Card cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products.
It is one of 27 recommendations from the Forrest Review: Creating Parity report.