The Albanese Labor Government is delivering on its election commitments and will today introduce legislation to Parliament to abolish the Cashless Debit Card.
The Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Repeal of Cashless Debit Card and Other Measures) Bill 2022 will seek to end the Cashless Debit Card with participants to transition off the card.
Pending the passage of legislation, this Bill will enable approximately 17,300 participants to move off the Cashless Debit Card with the option of voluntary Income Management. It will also ensure the Family Responsibilities Commission can continue to support community members in the Cape York region by re-establishing Income Management.
Transition arrangements will include an extensive communication strategy and in-person engagement in each CDC site.
We want the first week of the 47th Parliament to bring Australians together to create a better future.
As a Government we will deliver on our positive, clear plan for a better future for our country guided by two fundamental principles.
No one left behind – being we should always look after the disadvantaged and vulnerable. And no one held back – because we should always support aspiration and opportunity.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the legislation is the product of meaningful community consultation.
“We have listened to First Nations community leaders, service providers and Cashless Debit Card participants in these communities – and we have heard them loud and clear,” Minister Rishworth said.
“The Cashless Debit Card stigmatises and it often makes participants’ lives more difficult because they cannot access the cash economy.
“This legislation means participants can start to be transitioned off the Cashless Debit Card.”
Minister Rishworth said the Government will continue to consult with affected communities to explore the future of Income Management and other supports that they may need.
Subject to the passage of legislation, Cashless Debit Card participants will be able to opt out by contacting Services Australia.
“There will still be support available to those who need it, including opting in for voluntary Income Management, setting up Centrepay arrangements and referrals to local supports,” Minister Rishworth said.
“This legislation also ensures that the Family Responsibilities Commission can continue to support community members in the Cape York region by re-establishing Income Management.”
The government will look at the future of Income Management over the course of this year, reflecting the outcomes of further community consultation.