A rollout of cashless welfare card in city suburbs could stop “dole bludging”

The cashless welfare card has caused much debate across the country – many believe it is a good idea in

The cashless welfare card has caused much debate across the country – many believe it is a good idea in lower socio-economic areas or rural areas, however it hasn’t yet been trialled in cities. But now that could change with calls for the welfare card to be available to city and suburb residents.

According to hopeful Liberal candidate for the major urban region of Burt in WA, Matt O’Sullivan, there is a jobless rate of 17.9 per cent in his area and a problem with welfare ­dependency.

Mr O’Sullivan has run the GenerationOne indigenous jobs scheme for the past eight years and is being backed in his bid to enter politics by mining magnate Andrew Forrest, federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and WA Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis, reports the Australian.

“I believe my experience in helping the long-term unemployed to find work is going to be very important to the electorate,” he said yesterday.

Mr O’Sullivan said the results of a trial of the cashless welfare card in Ceduna, South Australia, and Kununurra, in the Kimberley, would determine when and where it should be rolled out next.

He said the introduction of the card, which holds up to 80 per cent of a welfare recipient’s payment on a bank card so that it cannot be used for alcohol or gambling, also needed counselling services to be provided.

The news comes on the same day as figures were released about the high amount of welfare recipients who are getting GP medical certificates to show they can’t work – 70,000 of them. They’re spending taxpayer money when they are likely fit to be employed and nothing is being done to close the medical loophole.

According to Courier Mail, in some parts of Sydney and the Central Coast more than 50 per cent of all dole recipients use GP sick notes to claim they are too unwell to work.

An investigation by the Department of Human Services has uncovered widespread rorting of the medical loophole by not only welfare recipients, but doctors who aren’t thoroughly examining patients.

The most common conditions that are used to avoid working include depression, anxiety, muscular-skeletal problems, drug addiction and alcohol dependence.

The figures, obtained by the Herald Sun, reveal almost 8 per cent of all Newstart, youth allowance and single-parent payment recipients use GP medical certificates to evade mandatory jobseeking requirements.

Human Services Minister Christian Porter has ordered an immediate crackdown after it was found over 30 per cent of welfare recipients in Sydney’s inner west and Brisbane had cottoned on to the scam.

The Budget faces a $190 billion welfare bill by 2020, and Mr Porter is tired of it.

“I will not accept one urban suburb has eight times more illness than another,” Mr Porter said.

“It appears some people are taking advantage of the system at the expense of the taxpayer, and it has got to stop.

“A genuine medical condition such as depression that creates a temporary inability to search for work is one thing, but it is not reasonable to accept that some regions have eight times more people that have such severe anxiety or depression that they are unable to look for work”.

It’s certainly disappointing to hear when there are many who do the right thing and would love to work.

Do you think rolling out the cashless welfare card nationally would give these “dole bludgers” an incentive to work?

  1. A lot of welfare recipients want to work but drug addiction and alcohol dependence is NOT a good enough reason for being on a disability support pension. These people will find a way around the card. Drugs and alcohol are a lifestyle CHOICE just like living within the law is a choice. Being a criminal is a choice and taking money away from someone who is genuinely in need in order to bludge is also a choice. There are three types of welfare recipients. Aged Pensioners who should have every concession available, those who want to work that can’t and should be given heaps of support in order to get there and those that would prefer to languish on the taxpayers money and wouldn’t get out of bed to even feed their children. The third group should have all their payments stopped.

    • Anne Wolski  

      Funny thing is in all the time I have worked with drug addicts and so forth, I have never yet met one who simply woke up one day and decided to become a drug addict because he/she was bored. A huge percentage of people on drugs and in our jails are victims of child abuse of all kinds and have used drugs to dull the pain. Perhaps we should be providing more rehab instead of building more jails. Better still, do something about the abusers instead of Australia’s favourite pastime of victim blaming.

      • Jack Harmmer  

        I think using the child abuse excuse for using drugs is just an excuse to justify their actions. They killed, raped, robbed, bashed, one punched, was speeding etc because they were abused and had a terrible childhood…it’s a convenient excuse! How would I know…I was abused by my Mother from as young as I can remember until I left home at 16, sure if had a very detrimental effect on most of my life in many areas…but I have never ever blamed any of my actions on my abuse or done drugs or alcohol. So you are saying most people who taking drugs are child abuse victims, then why are the rest taking drugs? A ridiculous statement!

    • I am so glad the world is very black and white for you Helen. What a shame it isn’t in real life.

    • Drug and alcohol abuse is an illness, usually related to other mental health issues. I really wish uneducated people would stop bagging the unfortunate. With the constants cuts to mental health services in this country we are going to see a lot more self medicating with drugs and alcohol and a lot more suicides.

  2. Jack Harmmer  

    Bring back National Service for everyone irrespective of color, religion, beliefs, size, gender or nationality. You will see them rushing to hide under rocks. A term or one your or two years to be served between 18 and 2, they would learn some manners, responsibility, punctuality, respect, independence and a chance to make their life and the Country much better after they have finished their service.

    • Pamela  

      I would not want moslems in national service.

      That is training the enemy!

    • Susan Bell  

      What an extremely ignorant comment Jack. Manners, responsibility, punctuality etc are learnt at home, I have rarely ever found someone who does not use these codes of behaviour. So let us talk about the army where you can be sexually, mentally and physically abused leading to suicide on far too many occasions, where you can quickly learn that violence is acceptable.
      Dictating how and where people can spend their money is the worse form of paternalism. It keeps the recipient of a card in an infantile state throughout their lives, unable to take control of their lives, unable to better themselves. We do not know individual peoples psychological, emotional needs, there can be no rigid rules when you are dealing with people. Would any of you want the government to dictate where you can spend money, or what you can spend it on. No, then why think others would like it.
      We create the problem of lack of technical training, lack of apprentice support, use of cheap foreign labour, governments not using Australian materials and labour in major works, lack of housing, lack of services for those escaping domestic violence, a total lack of compassion and empathy towards the poor including us seniors. We create the problems then blame the victims.

  3. i have to agree with this couple of years national service would sort most of them out also as said in a other comment

  4. Barbara Ayling  

    I have been an advocate for a long time, for bringing in National Service .. It did a lot of good in the UK in my younger days , certainly NO harm and made a lot of the lads I knew who were ‘tearaways’ sit up and take notice .. and made them better people for the discipline and respect they learned ….There really would be no excuse if the young people could not (or didn’t want to ) find employment …….The government would be using money more wisely and creating more mature young adults …It is sad to see how some of the young behave these days …both boys AND girls ….

  5. Lyn Corliss  

    I also agree with national service maybe not to serve in wars also work for the dole send them out picking up rubbish from the side of roads etc. they could also mow lawns and gardening for elderly people to earn there dole money a few days a week but the supervisors have to be pretty strick with them and if they don’t work properly they don’t get paid.

    • Kat  

      Lyn, your generation was paid a wage, in a permanent job, for doing things like clearing roadsides for local councils. When pensioners and retirees have much higher disposable incomes than young unemployed people they should give young people and actual paid job doing these things. That way the young people wouldn’t be unemployed. Also The Liberal National policies destroy jobs for young Australians and send those jobs offshore. I suggest you read and learn about the international trade deals our government is signing us up to. Pay particular attention to The Trans Pacific Partnership ( TTP) and Trade In Services (TISA) agreements. These deals actually force the government to contract out services to foreign owned companies, destroying job opportunities for young Australians. Soon even our schools and hospitals will be run by British and American companies. Did you know the Tax office right now contacts out jobs to the Philippines? Jobs that could and should be done by young Australians currently on the DOLE?

  6. C Godfrey  

    There are far too many people on welfare and whole generations who have been welfare recipients. They use their payments in many cases not all for drugs, alcohol and poker machines. Children starve in the meantime. A welfare card for all welfare recipients especially those on Newstart, is a good idea. Disability pensioners should be assessed based on age. If they are almost 65 and due for the aged pension then how they live is their business but the under 60’s also should be assessed for a welfare card. National service for those who are young up to 45 years is the way to go unless they have an obvious disabling condition such as cancer, lung disease, cardiac issues or mobility issues and brain injury to name a few. By getting tough on welfare recipients the genuine ones will benefit and the bludgers will be weeded out. We are the laughing stock of the world the way we dish out payments, food vouchers, and cheap housing to those who abuse the system.

    • Please don’t limit the age to 65. I have to wait until I’m 66.5 years to receive the age pension. I’ve had a disability since I was 21 (I turn 60 in less than 3 months), and am studying so that I can work. I have had a Job Capacity Assessment from Centrelink and they say that I can cope with up to 15 hours of work per week. So far, after finishing the minimum requirements to become a qualified bookkeeper, I still need to do further study to be able to get a job. No employer (in Albury/Wodonga region) wants someone who can only work 15 hours per week. I have found that there is certainly age discrimination, too. So, for those older than me, please don’t knock those of us who are genuinely wanting to work, but are not able to find work. My husband is also not able to work since he was made redundant in March 2010, after working in the IT sector with no formal qualifications (very hard to get these days as you have to go to either TAFE or Uni to get them, and where does the funding come from?) He needs to stay at home and look after me. He’s 58, and cannot find suitable work under 20 hours per week.

    • You do realise that the majority of welfare recipients are Age PensionerS and the unemployed acount for only 7% of welfare recipients?

  7. J Kara  

    Athens card system has been used in New Zealand for many years now don’t know the results though, I think it works well there , and I think it’s only some people who have it not all ,wages are very low there ,minuimum wage is $14:75hour not enough to live on ,and extra pay for for Sunday’s etc almost non existing , it’s a hard battle for. jjobs there as a lot of cheap labour is imported to keep wages down , the card system is a good way to make sure children are fed there are forts but not many

  8. It is very hard to bludge on the dole these days with mutual obligation rules & with more people being shifted off DSP & onto the dole then we are bound to have more long termed unemployed, In many cases it’s not the fault of these people that they haven’t worked for a long time the blame must be put on those In society who discriminate against those with disabilities. Not once have I heard a solution from government on how they tend to tackle this issue we even lost our disability discrimination commissioner & we don’t even have a minister for disabilities.

    Our Social services minister says that people like myself are a burden on society now what dose that tell you about this government.

  9. Jade  

    this is stupid how does someone get a job, when the job market is 11 job seekers to 1 job. the government needs to create jobs so people can get off welfare. It’s not a choice we have to be on welfare to just survive

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