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The human impact of the Cashless Welfare Scheme

Tina Clausen responds to the Government’s announcement that they will continue the roll out of the Income Management Scheme for all Centrelink beneficiaries, (not just restricted to Newstart recipients as believed by many people). 

Participants report they feel penalised and discriminated against by being forced to participate in the scheme and that there is a stigma and a sense of shame associated with having to use the Cashless Welfare Card. They feel humiliated and looked down upon by people in their community when forced to hand over the card to pay for goods – thus proclaiming to the whole world that ‘I am a Centrelink beneficiary and can’t be trusted to manage my own finances’. There is the embarrassment and shame when told ‘no’ when it happens that a business has chosen not to apply to become an ‘approved merchant’ for the Income Management scheme, leaving you to put your goods back and slink out of the shop under the glaring eyes of fellow shoppers.

Why should all people who happen to receive Centrelink payments be treated like second-rate citizens because a small number do the wrong thing? There are hordes of workers who could be nastily described as ‘dead-beat’ parents or have drug, alcohol and gambling issues too. Maybe our Government believes the whole of the Australian population should eventually be deprived of the right to manage their own money? Easiest to start with the most vulnerable and dependent first. Our Government is taking away our basic Human Rights of dignity, self-determination and social freedom.

I would like to highlight that people on the Disability Support Pension or Carers Payment/Allowance, through no fault of their own, can end up on this punitive and restrictive scheme for life unlike e.g students or people seeking employment who at least have a chance of getting off this soul-destroying Income Management scheme sooner or later. Preventing full economic participation in society by people with disabilities on an ongoing and deliberate basis is a breach of both Human Rights and international law.

The scheme is illegally disadvantaging people by letting for-profit company Indue, who were handed the contract for the scheme, retain interest earned on money in peoples’ accounts as well as forcing people to access goods and services that are more expensive than what people themselves can organise to get them for now. Indue stand to earn between $4,000 and $6,000 pa for each person they trap into the scheme. That would equate to a minimum of a $153 fortnightly payment increase for a person on Newstart. Money that could be spent on families, supporting local business and stimulating the economy. Instead the money goes into the pockets of private company Indue and its shareholders.

There are bad apples everywhere; some beneficiaries who maybe shouldn’t be receiving welfare payments and some workers who rip off their employers. The problem is that ALL workers don’t get demonised because some do the wrong thing, yet our Government seem hell-bent on punishing every single person on any kind of pension or benefit – from people on family payments to those on disability support, from young people studying to single parents, from widows pensioners to the unemployed. The list goes on.

This Government seems set on pitting one segment of society against the other and continuing the myths of the ‘great welfare rort’ and ‘huge numbers of welfare deviants and bludgers’. This is most likely their way of getting the general public to swallow what is a draconian and abusive scheme that goes against all common sense, morality and basic Human Rights.

 

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64 comments

  1. Freethinker

    Perhaps we can start paying the salary and bonus to the politicians with a cashless card?
    After all quite few of them have abused the system and this will be a good way to check where they spend the money.
    Just a thought.

  2. Susan

    What can we do to stop this rot?

  3. Jacinta

    How will these cards help anyone, the cost to the government is just one reason it that the cards are a bad idea. I agree with freethinker, our politicians are so untrustworthy, give them the cards.

  4. Matters Not

    responds to the Government’s announcement that they will continue the roll out of the Income Management Scheme for all Centrelink beneficiaries, (not just restricted to Newstart recipients as believed by many people

    Would you have a link to your claims? You know about the government announcement … continue the roll out … all Centrelink beneficiaries … From my reading I find:

    Minister Tudge said there has been no decisions on whether to expand the trials to new sites.

    I repeat – with emphasis: no decisions on whether to expand the trials . So do you have a link or is it just speculation on your part?

    http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/cashless-welfare-card-a-success-report/news-story/23af606451b27348a54c6a463ce15924

  5. Tina Clausen

    I forget which news site carried it the other day. Among others, Logan in Brisbane and Bankstown in Sydney as well as other sites in each State were identified by the Government as being the next areas for the card. Someone else also had a link to Indue’s purchase of 800,000 new cards already bought and paid for. Anyone here who has the links?

  6. Michael Taylor

    MN, by coincidence, this was emailed to me this morning by a lawyer I had submitted a few questions to.

    … the continuance of the welfare card trial after 14/03/2017 is that section 124PF Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 enables trials to continue until 30 June 2018. I insert that section below.

    If people were led to believe the trial would end on 14/03/2017 then they have been misled and deceived. This is the only explanation I can give as the legislation has not been amended recently and section 124 PF has been in place since 2015.

    Hence, the Minister can declare an area to be a trial area at anytime durimg the trial period provided certain criteria are met, provided the area is ‘discrete’ from the other test areas, provided there are only 3 test areas at any given time and provided that there are no more than 10,000 participants in the trial. Obviously this may change in the future but the legislation would need to be amended.

    Hence, there is nothing in the current legislation that prevents the Minister from declaring an area to be a trial area on the basis that it has been a trial area in the past or from declaring an area as a trial area for the whole of the trial period until 30 June 2018 as provided by section 124PF. That is likely what has occurred. The Minister may have a discretion to end a trial at anytime before 30 June 2018, including on 14 March 2017, but is not compelled to do so and obviously decided not to do so in this instance.

    The legislation relied upon would be the legislation below.

    SOCIAL SECURITY (ADMINISTRATION) ACT 1999 – SECT 124PF

    Trial of cashless welfare arrangements:

    (1) Cashless welfare arrangements are to be trialled during the period:

    (a) beginning on 1 February 2016; and

    (b) ending on 30 June 2018.

    (2) The trial is to occur in up to 3 discrete trial areas.

    (3) The trial is to include no more than 10,000 trial participants.

    Here’s a link to that section.

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ssa1999338/s124pf.html

  7. Tina Clausen

    As for your claim of success, that’s government PR and misdirection.

    False Government reports about how successful and good the Cashless Welfare Card is.

    “Simon Schrapel AM, CEO of Uniting Communities: ‘The Federal Government’s premature decision has ignored the fact that almost half the trial participants who were interviewed indicated that their lives were worse as a result of the trial. The so-called ‘success’ of the trial and the Government’s decision to extend the Card on an ongoing basis appears to be based on the views of non-participants, rather than those with lived experience of the Card, the actual participants themselves.

    ‘It appears that the Government places much greater value on the voices of those not subjected to the imposition of using the debit card than those who are forced to use it’.”

    https://www.facebook.com/NoWelfareCard/posts/1235949743139811

  8. Freethinker

    The trial in Ceduna is supported by the ALP and both, the government and the ALP are encouraged by the good news in the report.
    However the report did not include the SA police report.
    In Ceduna, since the introduction of the card Robbery and Related offences went up by 111 per cent, Aggravated Robbery went up by 120 per cent, Non Aggravated Robbery went up by 400 per cent, Fraud Deception and related offences went up by 51 per cent.

    Why this was not included in the report?
    Is the ALP aware of this and if not why?

  9. Matters Not

    Thanks for the link MT. I note:

    can declare an area to be a trial area at anytime durimg(sic) the trial period provided certain criteria are met, provided the area is ‘discrete’ from the other test areas, provided there are only 3 test areas at any given time and provided that there are no more than 10,000 participants in the trial. Obviously this may change in the future but the legislation would need to be amended

    From my reading of the above there are several points that appear relevant. I note that certain criteria have to be met: only 3 test areas at any given time … are no more than 10,000 participants in the trial.. So the idea that it could be extended to all Centrelink beneficiaries is not possible? Unless of course: may change in the future but the legislation would need to be amended.

    So the notion that: ‘they will continue the roll out of the Income Management Scheme for all Centrelink beneficiaries’ is not possible without legislative change? Now given the current state of the Parliament, how likely will that be?

    Seems to me that there is plenty of nonsense going on without fighting ‘fake news’.

    Freethinker, have you a link to that Police Report? And I’m not talking about a Facebook post, thank you.

  10. Matters Not

    MT, I note, and stress also, that these ‘trials’ and associated arrangements are part of the Act itself – as distinguished from the Regulations. Thus any proposed changes must come before the Parliament – House of Representatives and Senate.

    Not much chance of legislative change is there?

  11. Freethinker

    Matters Not, I am not reading news in FB and further more I am not in FB.
    Regarding nonsense or fake news, perhaps you are correct but I do not trust these mob in power and would not surprise me if they are behind the so called fake news to test the reaction of the electorate.

  12. stephengb2014

    What a great exchange,

    I am a bit of a fan of believing what the Law states!

    Thank you for setting the record straight, as a part pension recipient the article litterally got me ready to get excited. When I say ‘exited’, I mean the sort that gets the heart start to race, not a good thing for the elderly high blood pressure.

    S

  13. Rose

    If the current government truly has a plan to roll out this card to everyone on a Centrelink benefit then it should ready itself for an increase in suicides, crime and violence, mental illnesses (such as depression, anxiety) and other devastating physical and psychological effects this will have on certain individuals. It will be like having to wear a star band on ones arm every time a person needs to buy food. No one can afford to buy new clothes on a Centrelink benefit that’s why Vinnies and the Salvation Army have clothing stores.
    It should also be ready to accept responsibility for the cost to Australian society in handing over the nations not-for-profit social service to a for-profit financial custodian. Being the most ignorant, arrogant and short-sighted government in our history, I expect this will fail spectacularly in ways for which they are not prepared. The Coalition is beginning to remind me of a losing army in retreat – like the German retreat through Russia, they appear to be dismantling as much as they can of public goods and services, and selling national assets to the highest bidder on their way out. It’s flat out neoliberalism. Control the poor and give the rich even more freedom from regulation and responsibility. this formula has never worked – American society for example is a nightmare in my opinion and i would not want to live there. If the card was voluntary for people without a criminal record or without a history of drug or alcohol abuse it would be a more intelligent version; to offer income management to those who like the idea or feel they need it. As it is, it is actually frightening to think that this will cost them more to outsource to a private ‘financial custodian’ than the unbroken straightforward manner that it has been managed by our governments. Can citizens take a government to court for damages? I think they can. I predict It will negatively impact on the Australia’s economy and society will causing enough trauma and anxiety to many already downtrodden individuals, to be deemed negligence and abuse . I see trouble up ahead.

  14. Weary

    Does anyone know if DVA pensioners will be affected by this debacle

  15. Tina Clausen

    We need to raise awareness, agitate and fight about this issue now, before it comes before Parliament and quietly gets passed into legislation. They need to know people are aware of it and many don’t support this sort of scheme at all. Too late to fight later, by the time the Government comes clean about where they have got to with it in an upfront manner it will most likely be too late. They are quietly extending the program and trying to fly under the radar.

  16. Matters Not

    Because I can’t post in block, I will have to do it in sections

    .

  17. Matters Not

    Freethinker, sorry for the slow response but I’ve been busy doing other things. I note that your link is to the EYRE WESTERN LSA which is of a area many times greater than Ceduna (the trial area). To look at a big picture and then interpolate to a small portion has its problems. There are also other difficulties with ‘police statistics’. One doesn’t know what the ‘political climate’ is like at any moment in time – whether the powers that be are ‘cracking down’ on certain crimes – whether there’s been a shake up in the

  18. Matters Not

    whether there’s been a shake up in the EYRE WESTERN LSA or whatever.

    The second problem is with the selection of the statistics to be highlighted. Let me provide a different selection from the same statistical database as the one cited above. Homicides went from 5 to 1. A big reduction in any one’s terms – is it not?. Serious assault went from 40 to 30. Also significant? Sexual assault and related offences went from 69 to 56 – a decline approaching 20%. Non-assaultive sexual offences declined from 16 to 5. Significant or not? Threating behaviour went from 52 to 43. I won’t go on because it’s a statistical nonsense. All of my selections are ‘facts’ but are not helpful.

    Indeed the stats cited are useless. Misleading and the like. They weaken the case.

    Let’s not forget why this trial was set up. Does it infringe on people’s rights. Certainly does! On the other hand, it can also protect and enhance the rights of those who are relatively powerless – you know the children (and some women). We know that taking the children away is fraught. But we also know that leaving them there without some intervention is morally repugnant also. When rights conflict, decisions still have to be made. I tend to be on the side of the children.

  19. Matters Not

    Given the above, I conclude that ‘fake news’ will win every time. So easy to scare. So hard to … counter.

  20. Möbius Ecko

    Matters Not your selection of stats to make a point really doesn’t make the point your trying to make.

    The earlier stats tabled in the post are of crimes committed that related to a restriction of access to a wanted good that was previously accessible. Now that most likely is alcohol and other drugs, but now those with welfare cards find other ways of obtaining what they can’t anymore, and crime involving theft is one of those ways.

    It is similar to when you see a government cut payments to an already struggling demographic, such a the severe restrictions on dole payments and the reduction in penalty rates. Crimes involving theft increase.

    Now it may be that the crime stats you table went down because likely perpetrators are now too busy stealing. Just a thought.

  21. Andre

    These criminals who’re in power atm, don’t really care for people who’re already struggling on welfare as is. They surely do NOT have their best interests at heart! They are only interested in filing their already overflowing pockets! Politicians are way to much overpaid as is.
    They are actually promoting Corporate Interests for the minor few wealthy ones.

    They are relying on the gullible to swallow their lies!

    They will also be able to track everything too.
    Alcohol, drugs & gambling IMHO is just a smokescreen. They are 1st & foremost interested in $$$ first!

    The real & true reasons/motives that these liberal crooks & their mates are pushing the so-called ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ on the most vulnerable, weak & others 1st, has actually been exposed.

    We need to get the truth out to the mass media. Once a critical mass & tipping point is reached, we should be able to put a STOP to this madness & hopefully bring the perpetrators to justice !

    See:
    THE LIBERAL’S WELFARE CARD: CORRUPTION DISGUISED AS PHILANTHROPY!
    –> http://speechworksaustralia.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/the-guile-of-liberal-philanthropy-today.html

  22. Matters Not

    Möbius Ecko, I was trying to make the point that selections from a given data base must always be treated with caution.

    More importantly in this instance the data base deals with approximate population of 60 000 while the population of Ceduna is less than 4 000. About 6 to 7% of the total. How one could extrapolate sensibly from those numbers is beyond belief. Ceduna is not identified in any shape or form yet the ‘bad’ is selectively attributed there. Not convinced – to put it mildly.

    Simply we don’t know who is doing what nor where they live, yet ‘conclusions’ are being drawn. Seems to me they are conclusions of convenience.

    As I recall the current government is in all sorts of trouble by using data bases that don’t relate re Centrelink and the Tax Office. And they are being hammered because of it. As they should be. As for:

    it may be that the crime stats you table went down because likely perpetrators are now too busy stealing

    Certainly possible. And because the homicides also declined – perhaps more stealing should be encouraged. But enough of the long bows.

  23. paulwalter

    Its not about helping people on welfare or even economic efficiency, so much as a form of repressive tolerance aimed at disempowering and breaking the spirit of the underprivileged.

    Underlyingly, it is the same sort of sadistic mentality that runs concentration camps…today the lunatics run the asylum to compensate to the weirder aspects of their own warped pathologies at the expense of flesh and blood actual people.

  24. Colin Martin Fulton

    This attack on peoples rights reduces the value of what they receive as they will not be able to buy the cheapest product, food meat whatever as only a limited number of places accept the card and when that is added to the average government spend of $192 shows just how profligate the LNP are at wasting tax payer money for their ideology.
    That $192 if given to the centre-link recipient would be a boost to the economy, as it is this plan would destroy local businesses for no gain- a loss of jobs, and more unemployed people put on benefits.

  25. Maeve Carney

    Apart from the fact that this card denies people the right to shop around and get the best value they can for their money, I don’t like that this card takes away respect and dignity from the individual. Every person, regardless of their income level (or how they receive their income) is entitled to choose how they spend their money and to choose where they spend their money. Taking those choices away from people is damaging in so many ways. It is belittling to the individual, it undermines their own ability to make simple determinations for themselves. It demoralises people. It infantalises adults. It doesn’t teach them anything beneficial. It creates a very unhealthy relationship between people and the government. It also makes it very clear who is on welfare and that alone might be psychologically damaging to people. I could go on but I don’t think that the government will listen to anyone about any negatives about this scheme. They have a bee in their bonnet and they are going to charge ahead regardless and this will have a serious effect on, not only welfare recipients but society as a whole. This is a bad idea.

  26. Greg

    One of the most disturbing unreported issues here is the panic of state governments , there is a rush for police and prison officer recruitment’s for visa holders to come to Australia to fill those positions , after contacting one the companies involved we were told that they are looking for at least 2000 applicants with approx 500 positions that will soon be available (and also advised more positions will be available from 1st July ). The Federal and state governments know all too well the impact of this card and the escalation in the crime rate , If this is an indication of our own governments contempt for the safety of the Australian public then god help us all , if or when the full roll out this card occurs , going by the real police data from the trial areas then we are all in deep shit , with over 770,000 people on centrelink benefits how many do you think will resort to criminal activity to gain cash , it is time to stop putting your head in the sand and saying this will never impact on you , NO party is interested in the truth (as we had mailed and emailed the LNP , Labor , Greens and 4 independents the whole truth with the evidence ) . The only response from all was silence . So what will you do ?? become a victim , fight for your rights and dignity or will just shrug your shoulders and say it’s non of your concern

  27. Matters Not

    Greg, good to hear from you. As for:

    we had mailed and emailed the LNP , Labor , Greens and 4 independents the whole truth with the evidence

    Re the: the whole truth with the evidence. Perhaps you could post it here? I have been waiting for just that.

    In the absence of same, I can understand the ‘silence’ from the ‘all’ – the LNP, Labor, Greens and 4 independents.

  28. king1394

    Many poor people are absolutely tops at managing their money. They know how to juggle priorities, they chase the specials across several stores, they will travel off peak etc. to pull a little extra money for a special purpose. These cards are apparently limited to certain stores, and some people are forced to travel distances to use them. If some one wants this type of ‘assistance’ and want to keep their money tied to a basic food card, perhaps they could apply for the card.
    This not only creates a helplessness that prevents people from making their own decisions, but also interferes with the ability of people to share some of their resources. What happens when the washing machine needs to be replaced?

  29. Kaye Lee

    The BasicsCard restricts access to certain stores but the cashless welfare card doesn’t as far as I know.

  30. Freethinker

    Matters Not, with all my respects i disagree with your arguments. I am not trust at all this government and believe that they are “testing” the reaction of the people and later will start using the fake results as a tool to divide the electorate.
    Remember what it is the opinion of the right in the coalition regarding welfare and the PM and the moderates are not prepared to front the extreme right.
    I hope that your optimism it is correct and this policies will be not implement to other people in welfare but I repeat myself, the “fake news” that you mention or disregard are there with a purpose and is for testing the reaction of those that are not receiving welfare.

  31. Matters Not

    I really wish people will read the link I posted above. You know about the stated intentions, reasons for same, research design and so on. The group charged with the research have reasonable credentials. Please read same. Surely that’s not too much to ask so we can have a sensible discussion.

    https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/03_2017/3018_dss_evaluation_of_cdct_initial_conditions_report_baseline_admin_data_030317.pdf

    BTW, I am not optimistic (I don’t trust this government) but let’s get real. This is a trial. So far all I’ve seen to date are ‘red herrings’. Surely someone has some evidence of ‘bad faith’ that goes beyond baseless accusations and the like. But maybe not. Let’s keep crying wolf. And in the process lose credibility.

  32. wam

    Are you supporting the government? The use of the word ‘cashless’ is to confuse just as the ABC and MSM used ‘carbon tax’ to create juliar.
    Surely that is disingenuous’ when, clearly, it is NOT cashless (yet).

    Billy and the diludbransims know the depth of feeling but only labor must take care because:

    There are as many votes in ‘cashless’ as in ‘renewablesless’ as in ‘climate changeless’ as in ‘illegalsless’ as in ‘muslimless’.

    Like newton, unless acted on by a force. the love of the ‘….less’ will just keep rolling.

    real cashlessness is the aim supported by the electors who put these twits into power and like the power of ‘illegalsless’ labor has little room to move but any move left of centre relies on trusting the msm

  33. Kyran

    As always, you need to look behind the smoke and mirrors with anything this mob does.
    The ‘report’, also referred to as ‘an independent audit’, is no such thing. It is ‘research’ commissioned by the DSS to do with the CDRT.
    Just for the record, the company, Orima Research Pty Ltd, has earnt $43.2mill off the Australian government since 2007 furnishing research reports on implementation of government policies.
    Their last one?
    Orima Research – A report on the payment review experiences of Carer Payment and Carer Allowance recipients
    From reading the reports in SMH, The Guardian, ABC and SBS, they all read like ‘polls’ or ‘surveys’. Thanks, Matters Not for the link posted at 4.45pm. That is exactly what this is.
    From that ‘report’, the populations of the two trial areas comprise 30% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, against a 2.7% national average.
    However, “a large majority of ISP recipients (73% in Ceduna and Surrounds and 86% in East Kimberley) were Indigenous people. The disproportionately high share of Indigenous people in the ISP recipient population reflected their relatively high levels of socio-economic disadvantage.”
    The twelve month trial started in March, 2016, and this was the first of the reports produced off surveys done in May and June 2016. They surveyed those using the card; family members of those using the card; community members not on welfare and ‘other stakeholders’.
    The report is a survey of those different group’s perceptions of how the card is working.
    There is some inclusion of health, crime and education data, but only very minimal.
    The methodology?
    “This evaluation framework will:
    • Describe the Cashless Debit Card Trial program and what will be evaluated;
    • Help to develop sound evaluation plans and implementation of evaluation activities;
    • Articulate the program goals and measurable short, medium and long-term objectives;
    • Define relationships among inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts; and
    • Clarify the relationship between program activities and external factors.”

    Whilst the report will also look at such factors as what support services are available and the extent to which claimants may know of their availability, it will not make any enquiry into what other support services should be available.
    Of particular interest were some of the media reports of Senator Siewert’s police statistics. She made her own separate enquiry of the police in WA and SA to obtain ‘trends’ as they have not yet published official crime stats. The survey only included people’s perceptions of crime. She at least tried to get some evidence.
    From Matters Not’s link, there is no provision to monitor price rises in the stores that accept the card; there will be no enquiry into the availability of ‘pokies’ (that is the gambling this card claims to target) or the outright removal of pokies. Drugs and alcohol will continue to be treated as ‘law and order’ issues, not medical. There will be no scrutiny of the ‘supply’ side of that equation.
    It is a scam. The illusion of doing something for the community whilst doing nothing, other than redirect welfare dollars to those whose names will never appear on any ISP paperwork.
    Thank you Ms Clauscen and commenters. Take care

  34. Kaye Lee

    Sir Michael Marmot suggests that you get far better health outcomes if people have more power over their own lives. I do understand the issues facing these communities but they largely stem from a lack of education and employment opportunities. Marmot stresses the importance of early childhood education. There is also a nationwide shortage of rehab beds. The money being paid to the card issuers could be so much better spent.

  35. Matters Not

    At last a policy debate of sorts. Let’s have some clarity. The ‘cashless welfare card’ is a response to a perceived problem? Yes or No? Freethinker to cite your link to Eva Cox:

    There is agreement that the communities targeted – such as Ceduna in South Australia – have serious issues that need attention.

    Cox who is a ‘leftie’ from way back asserts re Ceduna and other ‘trial’ locations: have serious issues that need attention. . Anyone disagree? If not then we can proceed on the understanding that the ‘cashless welfare card’ is a response to a perceived problem. (I should add that I’ve been to those locations on a number of occasions and in my view they do have serious problems. Not saying the worst I’ve experienced (try Fitzroy Crossing as an example only) but these communities are dysfunctional. But also remember that these communities agreed that something needed to be done.

    Can we agree so far?

    KL, with all due respects, you have no understanding as to the problems faced by these communities. Read as much as you like. but being there has no substitute.

  36. Matters Not

    Kyran re your comment:

    From that ‘report’, the populations of the two trial areas comprise 30% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, against a 2.7% national average.
    However, “a large majority of ISP recipients (73% in Ceduna and Surrounds and 86% in East Kimberley) were Indigenous people. The disproportionately high share of Indigenous people in the ISP recipient population reflected their relatively high levels of socio-economic disadvantage.”

    Yep! In case you aren’t aware, (just joking) these areas are targeted because of the relatively high levels of socio-economic disadvantage compounded by other factors such as high levels of alcohol abuse, gambling, violence and the like.

    Remember, it’s the effects and affects on children that are being targeted.

    Debates about ‘rights’ and the like are pure luxuries when we have children living in these hell holes.

  37. Tina Clausen

    Following information from the “The Say NO Seven” group.

    “Yesterday at 7:28pm ·
    ((Gushing)) UPDATE:: Finally, we have the now infamous “legislative instrument” aka the very recently drawn Amendment to the trial legislation that has permitted Alan Tudge to betray the trust of every person who committed to the one year trial of a new card system in good faith, or were placed on it by force.
    As has become the norm for LNP, if you don’t like an existing law or legislation, simply write a new one to suit your agenda as we see Tudge has done here – dated as late as the 8th of March 2017.
    Source: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00210
    (via PG https://www.facebook.com/groups/1486363324991953/ with thanks)
    1 Name of Instrument
    This Determination is the Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area) Amendment Determination 2017.
    2 Commencement
    This Determination commences on the day it is registered on the Federal Register of Legislation.
    3 Schedules

    Schedule 1 amends the Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area – Ceduna and Surrounding Region) Determination 2015.
    Schedule 2 amends the Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area – East Kimberley) Determination 2016.
    Schedule 1 – Amendment

    Amendments to the Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area – Ceduna and Surrounding Region) Determination 2015
    [1] Section 3, omit the phrase and substitute
    This Determination ceases on 14 September 2017.
    Schedule 2 – Amendment

    Amendments to the Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area – East Kimberley) Determination 2016
    [1] Section 3, omit the phrase and substitute
    This Determination ceases on 25 October 2017.””

  38. Greg

    Talk to a resident of Ceduna and ask them how it’s been
    The Debit Card Trial substantially reduces choice when it comes to a person’s banking relationships. This is because the recipient does not have a say about which account 80% of their benefits were directed, but are required to accept a particular bank product. The consumer can take the predetermined product or go without 80% of their income. Reduction in choice is likely to reduce the responsiveness of providers, removing the dynamics of the competitive market.
    • Affordable banking – Much work has been done by the banking industry with the community sector to improve affordable banking, including basic bank accounts. It’s unclear whether the Debit Card Trial has engaged with this effort. While the account terms and conditions state “As at the date of these Conditions of Use, there are no account fees or fees for depositing or making a payment from your Account charged by us”, it also sates “You will not earn any interest on the money that is deposited and held in your Account”.
    • Visa system – The Indue cashless welfare card account uses the Visa system for payments. It is not possible to set up transfers using BSB and account number – rather the Visa card numbers should be used. This can cause issues including:
    o Unlike direct debits set up using BSB/account numbers, banks are under no obligation to cancel a recurring payment set up using Visa/Mastercard systems. Rather, consumers are directed to merchants who might not act on an instruction to cancel.
    o The Visa/Mastercard systems are far more expensive systems than direct transfers – this cost is borne by merchants who pass the cost on to consumers through general prices (note surcharges can be imposed to reflect cost of payment system).
    • Limitations in payments – transfers between accounts. The Indue account significantly restricts external transfers to other accounts. Approval must be provided by DSS for making transfers for rental and mortgage payments. This is likely to become very cumbersome and administratively burdensome once expanded beyond the trial.
    • Limitations in payments – declinable transactions. The Indue account declines many transaction types, sorted by merchant code. It is not uncommon for merchants to be mis-categorised under this system. During the trial in Ceduna, there were complaints that transactions to pay for parking, water bills, and tafe costs were declined. It has also been reported that some outlets outside the region allow purchase of alcohol through the cards – this is likely due to incorrect merchant codes. This is likely to be a significant problem if the trial is expanded.
    • Exemption from financial services laws – Indue has been effectively exempted from certain consumer protections by ASIC (via a ‘no action’ letter). These include the anti-hawking http://www.affordablebanking.info/
    See clause 8, https://indue.com.au/wp…/uploads/Conditions-of-Use.pdf
    See clause 6, schedule 1: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00311
    See here; https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016C00848
    • provisions under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the prohibition on unsolicited sending of debit cards under the Australian Securities & Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth).
    • One name only – account can only be opened in one name, joint accounts are not allowed. This may severely disrupt the financial lives of some welfare recipients.
    • Privacy – a card holder’s privacy is breached if they are part of the trial. The legislation and terms of the Indue contract permits disclosure of personal information between Indue and DSS and the Community Panel and DSS. These permitted disclosure are not consistent with privacy rights under international law.
    Problems with Indue
    • ePayments code – Indue is not a signatory to the ePayments code. This code regulates consumer electronic payments, including ATM, EFTPOS and credit card transactions, online payments, internet and mobile banking, and BPAY. Among other things, the ePayments Code:
    o requires subscribers to give consumers clear and unambiguous terms and conditions,
    o stipulates how terms and conditions changes (such as fee increases), receipts and statement need to be made
    o sets out the rules for determining who pays for unauthorised transactions, and
    o establishes a regime for recovering mistaken internet payments.
    However, Indue states that it will comply with this code in the terms and conditions of the account. This means that, unlike with actual subscribers, ASIC does not monitor Indue’s compliance with these provisions.
    • Indue Ltd is not a subscriber to the Centrelink Code of Operation, however it agrees to comply with this code in the terms and conditions of the account. This means that Indue Ltd will not deduct more than 10% of the fortnightly social security payment made to the participant in satisfaction of any debts owed to Indue Ltd.
    • Indue is not a subscriber to any industry code of conduct, like the Code of Banking Practice or the Customer-owned Banking Code of Practice. These codes include a range of important commitments, and incorporate an independent compliance and monitoring function.
    • Indue does not have any experience in retail banking and engaging with consumer organisations. When Consumer Action wrote to Indue to inquire about certain issues relating to the card, we received a one-line response from its CEO referring us to DSS.
    Other problems
    • General cost of administration – as noted above, administration and individual ‘work arounds’ by DSS/Indue are a necessary part of ensuing recipients are treated fairly. This has been manageable with the trial where customer numbers are low. We question the ability of DSS and providers to manage this should the card be expanded.
    • Avoidance – it is likely that those with a strong desire to obtain cash will be able to avoid the restrictions of the card to do so. Some merchants may, for example, sell goods to card holders then buy back the goods immediately for cash (often for less than that had just been paid). While inappropriate, this will be difficult to police and will reduce the financial resources of already low-income welfare recipients.
    • Predatory practices – exploitative trade practices by particular businesses may gain “approval” through being a merchant that can use the card. This may operate in a similar way to the Centrepay system where very high-cost and irresponsible consumer leases are available through that system.
    • Not using funds / not signing up – there is a risk that some recipients will not activate their cards, thus will be denied access to 80% of their welfare benefits. Even if the account is not activated, the funds in the account is likely to be the property of the recipient – this is an area for further exploration of potential legal remedies.
    • Power outages – Ceduna has reported a number of power outages for long periods of time, leaving recipients unable to access essential goods and services.
    • Evaluation – the evaluation does not consider the impact on a recipient’s financial capability or broader social outcomes. It appears to be limited to whether the card restrictions reduces use of alcohol and gambling etc.
    you can also come to your own conclusion that in Indue’s approved places to use the card you can see Chrisco , that not only sells alcohol but Indue cash cards

  39. Tina Clausen

    Regarding who the Cashless Welfare Card should be targeted at. My concern is that eventually it will be implemented across the whole country for everybody receiving any kind of Centrelink benefits and that will take away all of our Human Rights of choice, self-determination as well as our dignity.

    From a previous post of mine;

    “An open letter to the LNP regarding the Cashless Welfare Card:

    After having worked as a professional Social Worker for twenty years including in agency management and interdisciplinary team leader positions, then having to leave the workforce due to illness, how dare you assume that I am suddenly incapable of managing my own income and decide that I should be treated like a child and a criminal?

    You are taking away my basic Human Rights of dignity, self-determination and social freedom. You are also illegally disadvantaging me by letting Indue retain interest earned on money in my account as well as forcing me to access goods and services that are more expensive than I get them for now. Money is tight and I’m managing my budget accordingly, you and private for profit company Indue will blow my budget out the window.

    Logistically and practically the card is not working and is a nightmare for the general public, whom you are employed to serve in their best interest. This is in no ones best interest except Indue and its shareholders. The $4000 or more the scheme costs to manage per person could be better spent on increasing beneficiary payments, at least that way the money would be funneled back into local communities and thereby stimulating the economy.

    The card was initially brought in to support people that had difficulties managing their income appropriately due to addiction issues. That is where it can be targeted, at an individual level for people identified within existing frameworks as being at risk eg via police, child safety services etc.

    It is not appropriate to bring the card in wholesale across entire communities and eventually across the nation. We all have the right to live without excessive government interference in our day to day lives. This card only benefits Indue and the big chain stores especially. It is big brother in full action.

    Another issue is that whereas New Start recipients can leave the scheme when they find employment, people with chronic illnesses or disabilities will be stuck on it for life. They already have a hard time and now you want to punish them further?

  40. Tina Clausen

    1. New Start recipients can eventually move on but for many people on the Disability Support Pension or Carers Payment this will be a life sentence, no hope of getting off this draconian system. You might as well bring in rationing again as we are being treated like second-class citizens and criminals anyway.

    2. You can cover only a few of your cash needs with the 20% cash what about the rest??? Not everybody has family or friends that will stuff around having to get hold of you and your card whenever they do some shopping in order to reimburse you via cash if you desperately need some. Also, that’s going to wear thin very soon as it will go on and on.

    Yes, people WILL be forced to find ways around it as the system is unworkable. Already unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of this via charging a percentage fee for dollars converted to cash, shops introducing a minimum spend amount three times higher than what is usual for paying with a card, and shops in areas with few options doubling their prices. The poor get even poorer.

    3. Examples of shops / services / items unable to be accessed or paid for via the Cashless Welfare Card and where cash is essential:

    *Start with all the shops who have not wanted to or yet applied to Indue to be on their list. Businesses have to APPLY to be put on Indue’s list as an approved merchant for the Cashless Welfare Card and many small shops etc just won’t do that. They must have Eftpost facilities available of course and small shops, markets, private landlords etc often don’t.

    * Examples of card unable to be used in these situations as told to me by real people: Rent to some private landlords, bond, credit card loans, mortgages with a redraw facility, PayPal, ebay, Aldi, Budget Direct Insurance, markets, garage sales, school fetes, school uniforms, excursions or tuck shop at school where only cash is accepted, private babysitters or respite carers, many small local greengrocers, butchers and dollar shops, most second hand / op shops, tradesmen or mechanics that give mate’s rates to struggling beneficiaries, as a single woman can no longer pay girlfriends’ husbands for handyman jobs around the house that are too much for me, no second hand old car via private sale – have to go to expensive car yards instead and pay double the price,

    *NOTHING if a shops’ EFTPOS is down or there is a power outage, the person that mows the lawn for people unable to do their own, hospital car parking fees ($20 and cash only at my local hospital), community events and stalls, hospital drinks vending machines, many kindy fees. Dog registration not allowed, some sneaky shops putting a minimum spend on the card before letting you use it, eg one greengrocer said $15, rural areas have reported that winter heating wood and house water tank top ups are both cash only, also most of their trade services are cash only as no Eftpost facilities. The list goes on and on.

    Poor people rely on the cash economy to survive.

    4. The LNP Government is keeping quiet about how many people are very unhappy with the card and say it has made their lies much worse. They just cherry pick a few people to showcase and to say how ‘happy they are with the card and how good it is’, while the rest of the community is left seething.

  41. Kaye Lee

    “KL, with all due respects, you have no understanding as to the problems faced by these communities. Read as much as you like. but being there has no substitute.”

    MN, I was born in a small country town that had a mission on the outskirts of town for the Aboriginals and my family owned and lived in the town pub. TDT did a program on how bad things were there. I perhaps have more understanding than you think.

    Unless you change the circumstances that perpetuate the cycle you aren’t addressing the real problem.

    I note someone mentioned how they take away their cash but they would never think of taking away the poker machines.

  42. Harquebus

    The push for a cashless society is global and relentless. It is a last ditch effort to prop up the failing global fiat ponzi scheme and it will not be restricted to just welfare recipients.

    “By 2020 Australia could be cash free, with a material reduction in the budget deficit, and probably organised crime, as dividends. What’s not to like?” — Richard Holden professor of economics UNSW Australia Business School.
    http://www.afr.com/news/economy/why-a-cashless-society-is-coming-20170103-gtl3s1

    Search criteria: cashless society

    Cheers

  43. Michael Taylor

    And I’ve been leading the way, H’. I’ve been cashless for years. ☹️

  44. Michael Taylor

    “KL, with all due respects, you have no understanding as to the problems faced by these communities. Read as much as you like. but being there has no substitute.”

    I’ve spent ten years there, MN. It’s not like you think it is.

  45. Michael Taylor

    For starters, the Welfare Card is being proposed for areas that are alcohol free. Why introduce a card that is meant to counter alcoholism when there is no alcohol?

    As for Ceduna, the ‘elders’ introduced initiatives that work 100 x better than a welfare card, as have other areas.

    I couldn’t explain them in less than a thousand words, so I kindly ask that you flow with me on this one.

  46. Kaye Lee

    That is what is needed Michael. There has to be some ownership, some self-determination, some leadership and support, if we are ever to find a lasting solution.

    “The social conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age are strongly determinative both of risk of ill health and of the likelihood of engaging in civil disorder.

    “Health and inequalities in health are closely linked to the conditions in which we raise our children, the education we get, the neighbourhoods we live in, the work we do, whether we have the money to make ends meet, our social relationships and our care for the elderly.”

    Going beyond what we typically understand to be the causes of ill health — smoking, drinking, poor diet and exercise — Sir Michael said it is critical we as a society better understand the “causes of the causes”.

  47. Kaye Lee

    I recently went back to my home town and went out to the mission – yes informal apartheid still exists.

    The difference between the houses was stark, One house looked like a rubbish dump. The house next door had burned down. But then there was a house with the most amazing art and craft work everywhere throughout their well kept yard. The idea that these very different families would all be subject to the same paternalistic management is just wrong. Their needs are very different.

    When I was little the townspeople decided we should build a meeting place/community centre out at the mission. They were advised by a Maori who didn’t even live there as to what they should build (because all indigenous people are the same I spose). Needless to say the place got trashed and the townspeople were pissed off. Perhaps had they consulted the people who were meant to use the centre, if they had been involved in designing and building it, there would have been a better result.

  48. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, I should do a post to back up my claim. Watch this space!

  49. Kaye Lee

    I look forward to it Michael. We need to talk about the things that do work. I understand the view of some people that urgent intervention is necessary but I really doubt the efficacy of imposed income management in achieving real change. For some people it may be helpful but that should be an individual case management issue where manager and client are working together.

    We need to teach life skills. We need early childhood education and, if possible, to involve the mothers (or dads) in the process. I remember one case I heard of where a community was awash with rubbish. They trained some of the young people as park rangers who were responsible in part for cleaning up the area. These young people made it very clear to the other community members that they didn’t appreciate them trashing the place they had just cleaned up and they introduced much better rubbish disposal facilities.

    People take more pride in something if they are involved.

    PS When I was little, Aboriginals were not allowed to go into pubs but that didn’t stop my family from selling them alcohol through the back door. They also had a special section right down the front of the cinema, roped off from the white people. And we wonder why there might be some issues now?

  50. Freethinker

    Looks like that one have reading to article of Eva Cox in the link that I have posted before.
    I do not believe that there are good intentions behind these trails and further more not only have the purpose that I have mentioned before but also IMO it is racists and denigrate the communities in the trails.
    If the government is so worried about the problem with gambling why have not do something about the poker machines?
    I know why,, quote the article title:”Gambling is killing one Australian a day, but it rakes in billions in tax” ref:
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/gambling-is-killing-one-australian-a-day-but-it-rakes-in-billions-in-tax-20160927-grpypl.html

    Are these fatalities and dysfunction it the families where is a gambling problem only an acceptable collateral damage by the politicians ?
    Yes IMHO

    The Alcohol problem

    Between 80 and 100 Australian women are killed by their male partners every year. It is deeply shocking that an Australian woman is more likely to be murdered in her own home by her male partner than anywhere else or by anyone else. According to the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), about half of reported domestic violence incidents and up to 47 per cent of child protection cases involve alcohol.

    What are going to do regarding this problem? Are the authorities start managing the income of these families?

    The bloody do-gooders are attacking a minority which at the same time are of different race. before they took their children form them, now they manage their income. What next?

  51. Kaye Lee

    People do not have alcohol, drug and gambling addictions because they have money. Quarantining their money does nothing to address the causes of the problems.

    I understand the argument that there will be more money to feed children but there is no guarantee that all of a sudden everyone will start buying fruit and vegetables and cooking healthy meals.

    I know of schools that have increased attendance rate and improved results through a breakfast program funded by the school and P&C. Childcare centres can provide healthy meals for little ones. Cooking classes might help.

    We need collaborative rather than punitive action.

  52. Tina Clausen

    Part !.

    Human Rights Commission Social Justice Report 2016 – extracts on Income management
    NO WELFARE CARD S.A.·THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017
    Its an extensive read but we have condensed the whole report to the relevant area on income management.
    The Question is why was Alan Tudge late to supply information to every inquiry into the matters relating to Income management and why has the government ignored the findings of its own committees and also every report into Income management.

    (a) Cashless Debit Card Trials
    The Social Security Legislation Amendment (Debit Card Trial) Act 2015 (Cth) (Debit Card Trial Act) was passed on 14 October 2015 and came into force on 12 November 2015. The Debit Card Trial Act amended social security legislation to enable a trial of cashless welfare arrangements, through use of a Cashless Debit Card, during the period 1 February 2016 to 30 June 2018
    For all working age people living in the trial areas, 80% of certain Centrelink payments (‘trigger payments’) are paid into a restricted bank account linked to the debit card and the remaining 20% is paid into the recipients normal account.94 The money in the debit card account cannot be withdrawn as cash and cannot be used to purchase alcohol or gamble.
    An individual can apply to a community panel to request the restricted and unrestricted portions of their social security payment be changed up to a 50% cash and 50% card split.95
    The Cashless Debit Card was recommended in the Forrest Review Creating Parity report in 2014 which proposed it as a measure to prevent individuals from spending welfare payments on drugs and alcohol, encouraging financial stability and responsible spending.
    (b) Human rights concerns about the Cashless Debit Card Trials
    Two reviews of the Cashless Debit Card policy have been conducted, including:
    • the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs (Committee) inquiry into the Social Security legislation Amendment (Debit Card Trial) Bill 2015 (Debit Card Trial Bill),97 and
    • Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (PJCHR) reviews of the Debit Card Trial Bill.98
    Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016 • 89
    Key human rights concerns emerging from these reviews include the impact of the Cashless Debit Card on rights to:
    • equality and non-discrimination
    • social security, and
    • privacy.
    In examining the compatibility of the Cashless Debit Card with human rights standards, the PJCHR considered whether human rights were limited and whether the limits could be justified.99 The analytical framework used by the PJCHR for this assessment is set out below in Text Box 2.7.100
    Text Box 2.7:
    Analytical framework of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights101
    In general, any measure that limits a human right must comply with the following criteria (the limitation
    criteria):
    • be prescribed by law;
    • be in pursuit of a legitimate objective;
    • be rationally connected to its stated objective; and
    • be a proportionate way to achieve that objective.
    Where a bill or instrument limits a human right, the committee requires that the statement of compatibility provide a detailed and evidence-based assessment of the measures against these limitation criteria.
    (i) Right to equality and non-discrimination
    The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights is a mandatory statement that sets out the Bill drafter’s assessment of the compatibility of the draft legislation with the rights and freedoms recognised by the international human rights treaties ratified by Australia. The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights for the Debit Card Trial Bill says that trial locations for the Cashless Debit Card will be selected on the basis of ‘high levels of welfare dependence and where gambling, alcohol and/or drug abuse are causing unacceptable
    levels of harm within the community.’
    Populations of the proposed trial sites, currently Ceduna, Kununurra and Wynham, comprise a high proportion of Indigenous peoples.103 This has led to concerns of indirect discrimination on the basis of race.104 The PJCHR concluded in its inquiry into the Debit Card Trial Bill:
    It therefore appears likely that the measures may disproportionately impact on Indigenous persons, and as such may be indirectly discriminatory unless this disproportionate effect is demonstrated to be justifiable.
    This has not been explored in the statement of compatibility.
    Chapter 2: Indigenous peoples’ right to participate in the economy
    (ii) Right to social security
    The PJCHR noted the role of social security in creating social inclusion, citing the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ General Comment 19 on article 9 which states:
    Social security, through its redistributive character, plays an important role in poverty reduction and alleviation, preventing social exclusion and promoting social inclusion.
    The PJCHR also considered the similarity of the Cashless Debit Card program to income management measures under the Stronger Futures policy in the Northern Territory, particularly with regard to the right to social security.107 It commented that:
    the evidence regarding that income management regime was that it ‘fails to promote social inclusion…
    stigmatises individuals, and as such, limits the enjoyment of the right to social security’.108

  53. Tina Clausen

    Part 2.

    (iii) Right to privacy
    The PJCHR found that the Debit Card Trial Bill limited the right to a private life as set out in article 17(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):
    Restricting how a person can access, and where they can spend, their social security benefits, interferes with the person’s right to personal autonomy and therefore their right to a private life. In addition, being able to only access 20 percent of welfare payments in cash could have serious restrictions on what a person is able to do in their private life. There are many instances where a person would only be able to use cash to purchase goods or services, such as at markets.
    Issues of choice and restriction were also raised by the Australian Human Rights Commission (Commission) in its submission to the inquiry of the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs on the Debit Card Trial Bill.
    In particular, the Commission was concerned that the Debit Card Trial Bill allowed for an automatic quarantining model to be applied without the consent of the participant and regardless of how they have managed their financial affairs in the past.111 The Commission noted:
    the importance of ensuring the participation of affected people in all aspects of the design, delivery and monitoring of the income management measures. This would enable individuals and communities to decide on the most appropriate measures to meet their particular needs and the Government to respond to the specific circumstances of individual people and communities.
    The Committee noted similar concerns, particularly in regard to ‘the mandatory nature of the trial’ given that ‘existing income management strategies were shown to be most effective when participation was voluntary.
    A number of submissions to the Committee also expressed concern about the lack of avenues for exemption from the trial, and the lack of incentives to transition from the trial and away from welfare dependence.
    The Committee recommended that, prior to the passage of the Debit Card Trial Bill, that the Minister for Social
    Services:
    Include safety net provisions in the proposed legislative instrument to ensure that vulnerable people impacted by the trial are able to be exited from the trial, where appropriate, to ensure they are not further disadvantaged.
    Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016
    (c) Conclusion of human rights assessment
    In assessing whether the limitations of rights within the Debit Card Trial Bill could be justified, the PJCHR considered reports which evaluated income management regimes in the Northern Territory since 2013.
    What emerged from these evaluations was that income management did not achieve its aims of building financial capability and changing behaviour when it was imposed on a compulsory and blanket basis, without regard for the individual circumstances of those subjected to it.117 The PJCHR concluded that:
    [s]ignificantly, the design of a compulsory income management regime appears to hamper its possible effectiveness, by failing to properly target those who would be assisted by income management.
    Further information was requested by the PJCHR on 8 September 2015 from the Hon Alan Tudge, former Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister regarding the compatibility of these rights with the Debit Card Trial Bill. However, the Bill passed both houses of Parliament before a response was received.
    In relation to income management, the PJCHR concluded:
    The income management measures engage and limit the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to social security and the right to privacy and family. Although the committee considers that under certain conditions income management is a legitimate and effective mechanism, evidence before the committee indicates that compulsory income management is not effective in achieving its stated objective of supporting vulnerable individuals and families…
    A human rights compliant approach requires that any measures must be effective, subject to monitoring and review and genuinely tailored to the needs and wishes of the local community. The current approach to income management falls short of this standard.121
    The PJCHR recommended:
    • the continuation of community led income management where there has been a formal request for income management in a particular community following effective consultation on the particular modalities of its operation, including whether it should be a voluntary program, and that income management should be imposed on a person only when that person has been individually assessed as not able to appropriately manage their income support payments.
    Information concerning rights and processes of appeal should be provided to the person immediately and in a language that they understand
    (d) Ceduna trial
    Cashless Debit Card trials commenced in Ceduna and surrounding areas in South Australia on 15 March 2016. In September, there were 752 people participating, 565 of whom are Indigenous. As part of the Cashless Debit Card Trial in Ceduna, the Australian Government has invested over $1 million in new and existing support services for Ceduna residents, including community-based mental health support, domestic violence support through the Family Violence Legal Service, financial and money management advice and alcohol and drug counselling and support.
    These maps show the communities in and around Ceduna that are included in the Cashless Debit Card Trial.
    Chapter 2: Indigenous peoples’ right to participate in the economy
    (e) Kununurra and Wyndham trials
    Trials of the Cashless Debit Card system commenced in the Western Australian communities of Kununurra and Wyndham in April 2016.125 As at September 2016, 984 Indigenous people are participating, from a total of 1,199 participants
    The Australian Government has invested $1.6 million to improve and increase support services for people living in the Kununurra and Wyndham regions, including for drug and alcohol support services, financial and money management advice, targeted youth activities and family support services.
    (f) Community concerns about the Cashless Debit Card Trials
    The Australian Government has stated that all trials were ‘co-designed’ with local community leaders. However, there are mixed reports from community members about their engagement in the development of the trials.
    In last year’s Social Justice and Native Title Report, former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda emphasised the importance of consultation and free, prior and informed consent.
    He stated that:
    meaningful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not just a step in the policy implementation process but an opportunity for our people to participate in decisions that will impact on our communities.
    Some community members support the Cashless Debit Card Trial, stating that their primary concern is for the children of their communities and for future generations. Kununurra Aboriginal leader Ian Trust said that:
    It’s about human rights, for kids having a fair chance of being born without foetal alcohol syndrome, disease, living in a household where there’s no violence, where they can be well fed and cared for.
    The Commission respects Mr Trust’s vision for the Kununurra region, but remains concerned that the broad use of trigger payments may have unintended consequences. Sentiments such as the following expressed by a Ceduna resident must also be considered:
    This to me is going back to [old] days. I can remember I used to live out where I was born; 37 kilometres from here. Koonibba Mission. I was eight, nine years old watching my mother. This is what this card reminds me of: going from here, walking 50 yards to this little building and getting the rations: your flour, sugar and tea leaves. I can remember those days. This for me is just as the way. We’re going backwards.
    Another community member from Kununurra stated that:
    I don’t think the process was adopted the proper way with the mob, there should have been another approach used, a community development approach, an educational approach.133
    Accounts of other concerns include:
    • mixed reports about the extent to which some retailers, online merchants and transport providers accept the card
    • community members trading cards, both willingly and as a result of pressure, for cash to avoid the system
    • concerns about the security of personal information held by the card operator, and
    • reports of residents who receive trigger payments leaving the area to avoid being included in the trial.
    Again, the Commission is concerned that the mandatory use of trigger payments may be too broad and is of the view that an opt-in approach would be more consistent with human rights principles. The mandatory approach is often recommended to avoid the risk of vulnerable participants being pressured to surrender their cash. If reports about pressure to trade or surrender cards for cash are correct, the mandatory approach does not solve this issue.
    (g) Other proposed communities for Cashless Debit Card Trials
    There are troubling reports that the Halls Creek Shire in the East Kimberley was receiving pressure from the state Regional Development Minister to become a Cashless Debit Card Trial community. Reportedly, the Shire was advised this would ‘strongly influence’ the level of investment in regional service provision under the regional service reform program discussed in Chapter one.
    Following the refusal of the Halls Creek Shire to undertake the trial, the townships of Leonora and Laverton in the Goldfields region and thereafter, Geraldton in Western Australia were said to be interested but a third trial site is yet to be confirmed.
    Within all abovementioned confirmed and potential trial sites, some community members have expressed their opposition to the Cashless Debit Card Trial. Their reasons include:
    • Lack of confidence in the effectiveness of income management alone to deal with alcohol and drug misuse and associated criminal activities, gambling and mental health issues.
    • Scepticism about the willingness or capacity of government to deliver services that would support the trial and address the underlying social issues behind the misuse of social security payments.
    • The absence of positive results coming from evaluations of income management in the Northern Territory.
    • The practical impact of the measures on people who need cash for everyday transactions.
    Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016 •
    • Deficiencies in the consultation process.0
    (h) The need for evidence based evaluation

    A full independent evaluation of the Cashless Debit Card Trial will be conducted in the coming months. The Commission will examine the results which are expected in mid 2017 and will monitor how those results influence future policy.
    The potential benefits of the Cashless Debit Card must be weighed against the restrictions placed on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

    Former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda states that the Cashless Debit Card:
    is not identical to the regimes that stole our peoples’ wages and social security payments, but with those regimes still fresh in our collective memories it is no wonder that this card concept reopens old wounds and forces many of our people to revisit that past trauma.3

  54. Harquebus

    “Although this transition may feel like a natural progression into the digital age, the real motivation to go cashless is downright sinister.”
    “The level of trust most people still have in the current system is astonishing. Even after decades of incompetence, manipulation, and irresponsibility, the public still grasps to government and the established order like a child learning how to swim.”
    http://theantimedia.org/cash-no-longer-king/

  55. Roswell

    Holy shit, Harquebus. That’s appalling. This government has no damn idea.

  56. jimhaz

    I hope that info gets into the MSM. Serious enough to for the ALP to take up.

  57. Michael Taylor

    One can only hope, but I have my doubts.

    All that’ll happen is they’ll say that “Aboriginal crime is on the rise. They must be brought into line”, and the government will be the ‘saviours’ as they introduce another crazy policy.

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