No new Cashless Debit Card participants

The Albanese Labor Government will today close the Cashless Debit Card program to new entrants as the next step to abolish the scheme.

Around 100 new participants a week are being placed onto the card, but from 1 August 2022 this will cease.

The Government has agreed that the Secretary of the Department of Social Services will use his discretion to stop Services Australia placing new participants onto the Cashless Debit Card in all sites from next Monday, except Cape York.

Minister Rishworth said there were other supports available for those who need help managing their money. Importantly, changes to the Cashless Debit Card will not impact the BasicsCard.

“People will no longer be placed onto this program which stigmatises participants and has proven ineffective,” Minister Rishworth said.

The move follows the introduction of legislation in the Parliament on Wednesday to take steps to abolish the Cashless Debit Card completely.

Once passed, the legislation will enable people to transition off the program. It also ensures the Family Responsibilities Commission can continue to support community members in the Cape York region by re establishing Income Management.

Minister Rishworth said there would be continued consultation on the future of Income Management, which currently operates in 12 place-based locations across Australia and is not being amended through this Bill.

Anyone currently on the Cashless Debit Card who wants to remain on voluntary income management, will be able to use the BasicsCard.

There will be Commonwealth led engagement in Cashless Debit Card communities to provide information and education sessions over the transition period as people move off the Cashless Debit Card. Services Australia will also provide support to participants who request to transition off the card.

“The former Coalition Government imposed the Cashless Debit Card as a magic fix-all to complex and social problems experienced in some of our most vulnerable populations,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Stopping new entrants to the scheme means we can end this privatised welfare.”

Compulsory and voluntary Income Management already in place prior to the CDC will continue to operate in the Northern Territory until further Government consultation has occurred.