With the year-long trial of the cashless welfare card coming to an end the Federal Government has been keeping quiet on what is the future of the scheme.
While there have been critics of the system as it relates to people abusing the system it hasn’t stopped the calls for the cards, use to be extended. Councils from around the country are eager to take part in trials, and there have been some rumours about the Government making the card mandatory for welfare recipients nationwide.
At this stage, it remains speculation and rumours as a statement released to the ABC by the Department of Social Services stated, “there has been no decision to extend the trial”. They continued, “While some communities across Australia have expressed interest in the trial, no decision has been made regarding an expansion to any new location”.
Many areas that are trialling the card have said that there is still a lot of bugs to work out of the system. Shire president Ron Johnston of Broome stated, “It probably would be restrictive for some people, and I acknowledge that… but I think it’s worth the town having a discussion about the benefits and the disadvantages.”
Mr Johnston has also admitted that those that have to try to “work” the system have continued to do so under the card scheme. Mr Johnson stated, “A lot of itinerant people are changing their addresses from places north of us to Broome, so they don’t have that restriction on their card, so they can get the full amount of cash and do what they want with it”. He added, “There are many ways to get around the card … there’s certainly been a black market that’s developed, there are people profiteering from the system, and that gives me concern that we’re actually creating other set of problems.”
The speculation around what the government is going to do with the card will continue, however, the DSS plans to release their findings of the trial by the middle of the year.