Senate debates

Monday, 12 February 2018


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

7:57 pm

Photo of Doug CameronDoug Cameron (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Human Services) Share this | Hansard source

I will just go to each part of the amendment that you have before the Senate. We oppose this amendment. I said in the second reading debate and I've indicated earlier tonight that there is insufficient evidence at this stage to show that the existing trials in Ceduna and the East Kimberley are working. That is an issue to start with, and that's why we would oppose any expansion of the trial. We don't support the expansion of the trial at this stage.

We supported the initiation of trials in Ceduna and the East Kimberley and support them continuing for a further year to allow more time to reliably determine whether they have been successful. The amendment I propose to move on this bill deals with that aspect.

The second part of your amendment goes to defining the trial area. The current legislation in the bill doesn't define the trial area. This is currently done through a legislative instrument. This government amendment defines the trial areas as the Ceduna area, the East Kimberley area and the Goldfields area. We oppose this part of the amendment, and any move to expand the trial without sufficient evidence to demonstrate its success will be opposed. Labor requires a much more rigorous evaluation of the cashless debit card in the existing trial areas prior to any expansion.

The trials are also of a significant cost. Labor understands that there is a current accrued cost of $25.5 million, or around $12,000 per participant. We also know that the government spent around $1.6 million on ORIMA Research to provide substandard evaluation, and the minister still won't reveal how much it will cost the taxpayers to expand the rollout of the card to the Goldfields area.

Minister, before I go any further, can you confirm that there is an accrued cost of $25.5 million, or $12,000 per participant? Did the ORIMA research cost $1.6 million? Can you reveal how much it will cost taxpayers to expand the rollout of the card to the Goldfields area?


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