Senate debates

Monday, 12 February 2018

Bills

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017; In Committee

7:54 pm

Photo of Concetta Fierravanti-WellsConcetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, Liberal Party, Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | Hansard source

I move government amendment (1) on sheet AS301:

(1) Schedule 1, items 1 and 2, page 3 (lines 4 to 8), omit the items, substitute:

1 Subsection 124PD(1)

Insert:

Ceduna area means Ceduna within the meaning of the Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area—Ceduna and Surrounding Region) Determination2015 as in force on 15 March 2016 and includes the Surrounding Region (within the meaning of that determination as so in force).

East Kimberley area means East Kimberley within the meaning of the Social Security (Administration) (Trial Area—East Kimberley) Determination2016 as in force on 26 April 2016 and includes the areas of each of the Included Communities (within the meaning of that determination as so in force).

Goldfields area means the following Local Government Areas as at 7 February 2018:

(a) the Shire of Leonora;

(b) the Shire of Laverton;

(c) the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder;

(d) the Shire of Coolgardie;

(e) the Shire of Menzies.

Local Government Areas means areas designated by the Governor of Western Australia to be a city, town or shire, in accordance with the Local Government Act 1995 (WA).

2 Subsection 124PD(1) (definition of trial area )

Repeal the definition, substitute:

trial area means the following:

(a) the Ceduna area;

(b) the East Kimberley area;

(c) the Goldfields area;

other than any part of such an area determined in an instrument under subsection (2).

3 Subsection 124PD(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

(2) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine a part of an area for the purposes of the definition of trial area in subsection (1).

4 Paragraph 124PF(1 ) ( b)

Omit "30 June 2018", substitute "30 June 2019".

5 Subsection 124PF(2)

Omit "up to 3 discrete", substitute "the".

The government amendment extends the trial of the cashless debit card to 30 June 2019. The amendments also specify that the trial will be limited to three sites—namely, the East Kimberley and the included communities, Ceduna and the surrounding regions, and the Goldfields. The bill retains the existing legislated limitations on trial parameters in relation to the number of sites, participant numbers and the duration of the cashless debit card trial.

Under the current legislation, trial sites are determined via legislative instrument. The bill removes this ability and specifically names the trial areas. Instead, the minister will be able to declare that specific parts of the trial areas are exempt from the cashless debit card. This provides the government with the flexibility to remove localities. This reflects that discussions with communities in the Goldfields region are ongoing and that requirements for communities already on the cashless debit card may change over time.

We say that the change is needed. The government amendments to the bill will provide certainty for the communities currently engaged in the trial and/or the communities of the Goldfields which have asked the government to expand the cashless debit card to their community. Currently, the debit card trial is due to cease on 30 June this year.

An independent evaluation of the existing CDC trial sites was conducted by ORIMA Research in 2016-17. The evaluation found that the card had a considerable positive impact in both trial sites. Overall the research found that the CDC trial has been effective in reducing alcohol consumption and gambling on both trial sites and was also suggestive of a reduction in the use of illegal drugs.

Continuing the cashless debit card in Ceduna and the East Kimberley will focus on sustaining these impacts in the longer term. If the current end date is not extended, the program must cease by 30 June 2018, which will risk undermining the positive outcomes already being experienced by these communities. Furthermore, the government has committed to expand the program to the Goldfields region. Failure to amend the legislation will prevent this. This expansion will help test the card in different settings.

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