Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023


Selection of Bills Committee; Report

11:16 am

Photo of Katy GallagherKaty Gallagher (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the Public Service) Share this | Hansard source

On the amendment moved by Senator Ruston, the government is aware that there is majority support in this chamber for an inquiry referral to the Social Security Administration Amendment (Income Management Reform) Bill 2023 to report on 6 June 2023. We believe that this date will put the timely passage of this important legislation at risk.

We know from previous inquiries that the BasicsCard is out of date and not sufficient to meet the needs of people in community. Our bill directly responds to the clear message given to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation committee inquiry into the cashless debit card last year—importantly, giving income management participants more choice. The bill provides the choice of a better product with modern technology and it does so at a cheaper cost than the previous cashless debit card. To prolong the date of an inquiry we deny more than 24,400 existing income management participants with a choice to access a contemporary and improved card as soon as practicable, and it will keep them on the BasicsCard technology, which is out of date and limits participants' options on where they can shop.

We would prefer an earlier reporting date, but we accept the view of the Senate that the committee report on 6 June 2023. We wanted to record our concern about the delay in the passage of this bill.


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