Sunday, 15 May 2022

    Welfare card trial to expand

    The cashless welfare card is one step closer to a nation-wide rollout after crucial independent senator Jacqui Lambie backed expanding the trial, The Age reports.

    Senator Lambie’s support gives the government’s expanded trial a pathway through the upper house just hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison told The Sunday Age and Sun-Herald he was eyeing a national cashless debit card program, which would quarantine 80 per cent of unemployment and various other welfare payments to prevent them being spent on alcohol, drugs or gambling.

    The card is part of the Morrison government’s “compassionate conservative” welfare redo, set to dominate the agenda when Parliament resumes on Monday, which also includes a contentious plan to trial drug testing welfare recipients.

    “I’ve always been a big supporter of the cashless welfare card,” Senator Lambie said. “I’ve seen the results that has had.”

    The senator said she would see results firsthand at trial sites over the next year before throwing support behind the national rollout.

    Two One Nation senators and conservative independent Cory Bernardi are set to join Senator Lambie in supporting the cashless card.

    Labor and Centre Alliance have not ruled out supporting the move amid concerns over the $129 million expanded trial that would see welfare recipients in the Northern Territory and Cape York receive new debit cards.

    “There’s no evidence that the cashless welfare card has made any significant improvements, importantly, in jobs,” Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said on Sunday. “And that’s the key issue, that we will examine any proposal that comes forward from the government.”

    Greens social services spokeswoman Rachel Siewert accused the government of acting “based on ideology rather than evidence”.


    Expanded cashless welfare card trial set to pass Parliament in days (The Age)


    Exiting the cashless welfare card trial is almost impossible, critics say (The Guardian)