Welfare payments: just how far should the government go? 234

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The Federal Government has announced a new cashless welfare card that will directly control what the money is spent on – or in this case isn’t spent on.

The Healthy Welfare card is being introduced in an attempt to slash the amount of alcohol consumed in indigenous societies.

The Australian reports it will be rolled out in Ceduna on South Australia’s west coast early next year, along with a $1m package of support services.

The extra support services are necessary because of the many people who will need detox services following the reduction in alcohol consumption.

Assistant Minister for Social Services Alan Tudge said the card had the potential to “reduce welfare-fuelled social harm by reducing the available cash for grog, drugs and gambling”.

So how exactly will it work?

By “quarantining” 80 per cent of welfare payments on a bank card that will not work at alcohol outlets or gambling venues.

The Australian says the new card has been welcomed by community leaders in Ceduna and the far west regions of SA as a welcome weapon in the fight to control alcoholism and gambling.

However, it reports the government is still in negotiations with indigenous leaders in Western Australia about rolling the card out in the East Kimberley region.

Let’s talk: Good idea? Bad idea? Are you worried about the possibility the government might decide to extend it to other forms of pension like the aged pension in the future if it is successful, even though this has not been proposed at this time?


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  1. No apslolutely not this is not communistic counrty. And nobody has right too control anothers money. Im appaulled the hunan rights comission has been silent on this matter. It is especially insulting and outright abuse of our freedom of choice and rights. Especaliy so too ppl in the 50+ age group. Who are responsible adults and know how too use money wisely . Why has nothing been done too stop this.

    1 REPLY
    • Janet. while you statement may sound just, “Nobody has the right to control another’s money”. ( I would have put it slightly differently), however, welfare money comes from the taxpayer. I believe most taxpayers are not against their dollars giving a helping hand, but would not approve of supporting someone else’s drug/alcohol/smoking habits. Have you seen the price of cigarettes lately? Responsible people who spend welfare money on essentials would not be affected. Having never received welfare, but having struggled to the point of having to sell household items to make ends meet AND pay taxes, I resent deeply that recipients of welfare can currently fritter my hard dollars on non essentials.

      2 REPLY
      • Exactly, Anne!
        And when welfare recipients have wasted their cash on fags/drugs/grog/gambling, they to to charitable organisations crying poor and putting their hands out for more taxpayer or donor cash/goods! 😛

        1 REPLY
        • Correction: ‘go to’, not ‘to to’ – sorry!

      • actually all you lovely tax payers it’s not just your taxes it is every tax payers money including the ones who are now on welfare thru no fault of their own so keep your noses out of what they do with the money

  2. I think the government is playing God just about enough. All 3 levels are now saying, “if you want to live here you will do as we say”.

  3. Not as a rule but perhaps only for those few who have an identified problem, where it would be part of a comprehensive treatment program to beat gambling or alcohol addictions.

  4. Great idea! No alcohol, cigarettes or gambling while the kids go hungry and have cold showers. Welfare is not for people to have fun, but to have food, electricity and other essentials. No one on welfare should be able to afford things that people not on welfare can’t.

    8 REPLY
    • its about food in your belly, paying rent, and clothes on your back. not getting drunk or gambleing.

    • The thing is you have no right to say what someone is able to spend their money on. Govvernments are too great at doing this – now they want to stop you from having a gun and your kids from buying sugary drinks – same thing – taking away the right of people to choose

    • If people spent their welfare money responsibly there would be no need for government control. It’s not about rights, it’s about responsibility.

    • I don’t consider a pension as welfare I’m only getting back some of the money I paid in tax for years ,after all we don’t have a say how the government spends our tax money

    • I assume Paul that you would be comfortable with this applying to any Age Pensioner – a welfare payment – who has a gambling or alcohol problem.

    • Many people on welfare and living in regional/remote areas use internet banking for their financial transactions. How will the welfare card facilitate this? You must think that everybody lives in a city where the post office is just a short hop, skip and jump away. Using internet banking is a personal form of income management. You would deny this and let the government manage peoples’ finances?

  5. no because it will be for all welfare payments. aged down to unemployment. there will not be a exemption. and if there is it will be like all gov policies short lived.

  6. as you are aware this has been tried and used in many Aboriginal communities in the Northen Territory and from Derby upwards. it has made a lot of people up there travel over 300kms round trip every pension day to centrelink to stand in a quene to collect their card. to only be told to go home come back another day as they had done there quota for the day. these people have to catch a private bus or taxi to get to town as there is no other transport. so they then have to sleep rough which got them in trouble with the law. kids and all cause they have to bring the kids in to prove they have them. Then when they get there card found out that they could only shop in 1 place eg Woolies or Coles. problem is these places do not sell in bulk and then this cost even more so there was no savings… great scheme was tried an tested on this wonderful race of people. they where treated like dirt. but that was ok cause it has give the gov. the knowledge to screw all of australia now.

    3 REPLY
  7. It certainly is going a step too far! What people do with their benefits is not up to anyone to interfere with.
    People need to grow up and take responsibility for themselves, those who are on a path of addiction may need help, agreed. But we can’t save them no matter what we do.
    So much which should be personal responsibility, is decided for us by rules and regulations, in some cases for the good of all.
    This is a total infringement on peoples basic right to make their own choices.

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