House debates

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Statements by Members

Welfare Reform

1:33 pm

Photo of Rick WilsonRick Wilson (O'Connor, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to update the House on the cashless debit card trial outcomes in the Goldfields region, in my electorate of O'Connor. I give this update in light of uninformed claims in the media regarding the practicalities of the card. The member for Watson was widely quoted claiming businesses would need to sign up for the card, which he said would be detrimental to small businesses. This statement could not be further from the truth. The cashless welfare card can be used anywhere with EFTPOS facilities without the need to sign up but will reject transactions that involve alcohol and gambling products. The member for Watson is getting the cashless debit card confused with the BasicsCard.

The fact is we've seen positive outcomes in the Goldfields following the rollout of the cashless debit card trial. The University of Adelaide released its cashless debit card baseline data report in February, which supports the anecdotal feedback from the shires of Coolgardie, Laverton, Leonora, Menzies and the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. They reported positive impacts on the level of alcohol use and associated behaviours, early improvements to child welfare and wellbeing, changes in spending on household items, improvements to financial literacy and management and positive impacts on crime, family violence and antisocial behaviour. The Kalgoorlie-Boulder chamber of commerce provided a submission to the Senate inquiry into the cashless welfare bill. Eighty-seven per cent of respondents said that they believe there were positive changes in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and that they want to see the trial continue. Given the outstanding results I have witnessed firsthand, I wholeheartedly support the national rollout of this program, and I urge the opposition to stop playing politics and to take note of the positive evidence.