The proposed roll out of the Cashless Debit Card in the NT by the Federal Government could see over 20,000 people have 80% of their welfare payments quarantined.
Speaking to the Senate Committee, Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council chairperson Maimie Butler said the move could be devastating for remote communities.
Recipients of Centrelink income are currently subject to the Basics Card which was brought in by the Howard government in 2007 as a part of the NT intervention. The Basics Card quarantines 50 per cent of recipients’ income for use at approved stores, compared with 80 per cent on the newer cashless debit card.
Ms Butler said there would be huge pressure on people in remote communities who have cash through wages and voiced her concerns about a spike in violence.
“The scheme will create a lack of empowerment for impoverished people and not address the root cause of poverty and alcohol misuse” said NPY Women’s Council CEO, Liza Balmer
If this card does comes along, it’ll take us right back to when our ancestors first walked into the missions and been fed by rations. That’s how it will be,” NPY Women’s Council Chair, Maime Butler
You can read more here: ABC News https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-01/cashless-welfare-card-committee-hearing-northern-territory/11662892