The cashless welfare card is set to be terminated after a new report found that the program failed to prove a reduction in social harm. Source: SBS News.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth announced that the report, released by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), highlighted the “lack of evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness” of the card.
In a statement released on Friday, Ms Rishworth said briefings have already begun to discuss the termination of the cashless welfare cards “delivering on Labor’s election commitment”.
The scathing report from Auditor-General Grant Hehir said the previous government had not “demonstrated that the cashless debit card program is meeting its intended objectives”.
The Department of Social Services also failed to implement previous recommendations made about evaluating the program and undertaking a cost-benefit analysis.
Mr Hehir labelled the department’s oversight “largely effective” but criticised the former Morrison government’s lack of internal performance monitoring for the scheme.
“The cashless debit card program extension and expansion was not informed by an effective second impact evaluation, cost-benefit analysis or post-implementation review,” the report reads.
The Coalition government started a trial of the program in 2016, placing up to 80 per cent of a welfare recipient’s payments on the card. They cannot withdraw money placed on the card to buy alcohol, gamble or cash-like products.
The trial affected many of the larger Indigenous populations in Ceduna in South Australia; the East Kimberley region in Western Australia; the Goldfields region in Western Australia; the Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, and Cape York regions in Queensland; and the Northern Territory.