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Your views: on a cashless Centrelink debit card, and red lights

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on some welfare recipients being permanently placed on cashless debit cards, and police closing intersections to test red light cameras.

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Commenting on the story: Cashless debit welfare on cards for some Centrelink claimants

Your story raises some very concerning issues for services who work with people with drug and alcohol issues who are forced onto the cashless welfare card system.

Evaluations of these programs show that they do not necessarily assist people to move out of poverty but can exacerbate it, they often leave women and other vulnerable card users open to exploitation, the controls that they put on spending are easily thwarted usually to the detriment of the person named on the card, and they are deeply stigmatising for those forced to use them, 75% of whom are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ACOSS).

A further major issue is that their administration is very expensive, with some research showing that costs to the card manager can be up to 50% of the amount managed on the card annually (fees paid to Indue, a private corporation, to manage the card are $10,000 per annum whilst a single person on welfare receives $21, 000 – ACOSS).

A standard bank debit card costing as much would be subject to banking regulation relating to price gouging.

It is time for the Federal Government to cancel this clearly dysfunctional program and rather invest the money currently being expended in the delivery of services and supports to Australians in need of better social supports. – Michael White, SA Network of Drug and Alcohol Services

Although I think it’s a good idea to prevent Centrelink money from being used on alcohol, drugs and gambling, the use of a special debit card for certain Centrelink users seems discriminative and would lead to further social ostracism for those who deploy them. – Annie Gao

The actual idea to help people manage their finances is good, however, they need to be able to use the card for essential services like electricity, gas, etc. as well as food. Also no mention of cigarettes on that list, which adds to the cost of people’s health hugely and in turn this is then a massive cost to the public health system Australia wide. – Diane Robinson

Typical of the government to make life harder for people already struggling to make ends meet, especially if they don’t drink, gamble or use drugs. – Vicki Ballarin

I am concerned that the cashless debit system is grossly unfair and would be problematic for my budget. I am barely able to afford medication and groceries after meeting rent and essentials services requirements. I don’t drink, smoke or gamble as I believe they are a total waste of money. 

I have not sighted a Government Review and the Attorney General has stated that there is no evidence that the card works. I personally would like to see more job creations and training to assist us to gain more opportunities for future employment. – Coral Brockman

Commenting on the story: 20 Adelaide intersections to close by Friday as police test red light cameras

Being a professional driver, l hope they notify motorists which intersections are being tested at what time, so alternative routes can be planned. – Glenn Murphy

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