Cashless Debit Card
After a very long and hard-fought campaign, the Australian Senate has approved a trial of the Cashless Debit Card in the Goldfields.
Months of uncertainty have ended and now, with the endorsement of both houses of Parliament, we can get to work and start introducing this card within a matter of weeks.
I believe we’re going to see real change in the Goldfields – change the region has been crying out for to break the cycle of welfare dependency, alcohol abuse and decades of generational disadvantage.
I’ve spoken to hundreds of people in the Goldfields over the last two years, but the words of a young Aboriginal man from Leonora have been resonating while the Senate has deliberated over the future of this program.
While expressing his support for introducing the Cashless Debit Card to his town, this man drew on the words of Albert Einstein to articulate his thoughts.
“The definition of madness is to try the same thing over and over and expect to see a different result.”
We now have an opportunity to try a new approach, because forging ahead with a system that has failed an entire generation of people is certainly madness.
There are a number of people who I feel deserve special recognition for their efforts, those that stood up on behalf of their community and courageously spoke their minds in the face of opposition.
Betty Logan of Coolgardie, who has been one of the strongest and most passionate advocates for the Cashless Debit Card.
Nana Gaye Harris of Leonora, who came to me in late 2015 with a plea for help after a spate of youth suicides, which prompted that start of a conversation about the Cashless Debit Card.
Amanda Bennell, who stood before the Prime Minister in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and gave an emotional speech about her desire to see a brighter future for Aboriginal people.
Bruce Smith and Janice Scott, who have worked tirelessly to create better opportunities for the people of the northern Goldfields.
The five local governments of the Goldfields where the trial will be held, and in particular their elected leaders: John Bowler, Patrick Hill, Peter Craig, Jill Dwyer and Mal Cullen.
And last but not least, every person who signed my petition, who responded to my postal survey, or who voiced their support for this campaign over the last two years.
Moving forward, we’ve got plenty of work to do in the immediate future.
There’s no doubt that there will be teething issues in the early stages of the rollout, and I’ll be working closely with the Department of Social Services to manage any challenges that arise.
The Government is working to ensure Goldfields businesses have the required equipment installed for people to buy goods using the card.
We’re also likely to see attempts to game the system, either from cardholders looking to circumvent the alcohol and gambling restrictions or some people who see an opportunity to profit at others’ expense.
It is imperative we work together as a community to manage these issues – we all want to see a better standard of living in the Goldfields, because we’re all invested in its future.
Media contact: Andrew Brosnan 0488 643 593