Welfare reform and the Cashless Debit Card

You've probably heard of the BASICS card, brought in to manage and quarantine the income of people receiving welfare payments in the Northern Territory during the Intervention, and in selected locations outside of the NT since.

Now the Federal Government is pushing for the rollout of income management via the Cashless Debit Card. The card, aimed at controlling spending on drugs, alcohol and gambling, would see 80% of welfare payments placed on a quarantined card, issued by financial services company Indue - and 20% of payments remaining available as cash.

The system is being trialled at Ceduna in South Australia and Kununnara in WA. Legislation now being considered would change the system from a trial, paving the way for its rollout in the Hinkler electorate of southeast Queensland, the Kalgoorlie region in WA, and beyond.

The legislation has been the subject of a Senate Inquiry that wound up in November, and the release of the inquiry report has been postponed to 6 December.

4ZZZ's Justine Reilly spoke to Greens Senator Rachel Siewert on Thursday, November 30, about the progress of the Cashless Debit Card.

This interview will feature in a larger audio piece Justine is producing for Women on the Edge.

Image: Screenshot from a Minderoo Foundation advertisement for the card.