UnitingCare Australia welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card Trial Expansion) Bill 2018 (CDCT or ‘the trial’).
In our Submission of 29 September 2017 on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017, we said:
It is our view that evaluation of the card’s implementation in the trial sites provides
inconclusive evidence regarding the effectiveness of the card’s introduction alone in
reducing levels of harm associated with alcohol consumption, drug use and gambling within the target communities.
and named the following issues of concern:
• Insufficient information regarding how people using the card will be managed off it;
• Stigmatisation of card users;
• Limited ability of card users to purchase goods that are second-hand due to
quarantining introduced with the card, preventing people’s access to cheaper cash
• Complexity of evaluating the card’s effectiveness when card users may move out of
the trial locations. The ORIMA evaluation does not include a longitudinal study that
tracks trends based on, and following through with, the initial sample group;
• Flawed assumptions underpinning the card, particularly that alcohol, drug use and
gambling are the primary causes of financial insecurity and poverty in the target communities.