Radical shakeup to Australian’s welfare system

With it being a hot topic with many the Federal Government has decided to trial a bold new method of

With it being a hot topic with many the Federal Government has decided to trial a bold new method of delivering welfare to those that need it.

The Turnbull government is looking to roll out the Healthy Welfare Card to a small portion of people on welfare as a trial. The government wants a complete overhaul of the countries welfare system and adapting the method used by New Zealand could be the way to do it.

The New Zealand Youth Services uses a cashless system for welfare that sees money put on a debit card, bills paid automatically, and the user having the remaining amount that can only be spent at certain stores.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has returned from a visit to New Zealand where he had nothing but good things for the system there. Alan told The Australian “It is an interesting model which we will explore further.” He continued ““New Zealand’s card has a different purpose to the objective of our cashless debit card, but it ­appears to be working.”

The belief behind the cashless card is that it will limit the change of welfare abuse while giving the people that truly need welfare a leg up to get their life on track. “If a person is under 18 and ­already on welfare payments, the chances of them needing ­assistance to help manage their ­finances is likely to be high,” Alan said. “The New Zealand card is aimed at helping young unemployed people to get their lives on track and provide an additional encouragement to work.

“We will take a closer look at this model, but if it helps young people to get on top of their finances and get into work, then we should at least trial it here.”

The idea is to eventually roll the system out across the country in the coming years.




  1. This is NOT a “radical shakeup”, the cashless welfare card was first introduced at the time of the NT intervention about ten years ago and has been rolled out to select sites in all states since. A “radical shakeup” is something which would get people OFF welfare and into jobs but thats proved too difficult for successive governments. Wonder if the threat of conscription would work?

      • Elise  

        Exactly. I know many young people who continually look for work but there are no jobs.

  2. Irene Halls  

    I have friends who have trialled the cashless system in Ceduna and it’s a pain half the places do not accept the cards they are very all telling that a person is on welfare a subject that is embarrassing to some. I think it would be detrimental to most people to be put on these cards.

    • Teresa  

      I gind this talk of embarrassing if people know you are on welfare
      That makes me see red
      Ive worked over 40 years in australia never claimed welfare and dont get a pension
      Ive scrimped an d saved dont smoke drink or do drugs
      If u find it embarrassing move to a country area where there is work.
      I did

      • Know one should have to move to another country. And just because you had luck with employment for many years spare a thought for those that haven’t. Charity begins at home.

  3. bernadette  

    we should put the politicians on this card with limited access, maybe they then will get a dose of their own medicine

    • Spot on. We should not be shining the spotlight on our young like this. This is just a sneaky way in the back door to eventually put this liberty robbing card on all welfare payments. People on welfare do not = criminals and shouldn’t be treated as such. They are just unemployed. And as for saying the young can’t manage the money is just further babying them. How are they to learn with no money available to them ? It would just make them even more dependant. And yes all pollies should be made to try this before putting it on everyone else. After all they mismanage money all the time, think choppergate etc etc.

  4. Jean Walker  

    Absolutely jj. people like Teresa seem to have no understanding of other people’s situations. There simply aren’t enough jobs anywhere. We all know that but gov’t just keep trying to cover it up with ever changing “schemes”. Technology and cheap imports have wiped out so many jobs – it was inevitable but no good answer has ever been found except to blame the working classes.

    And what about those like my s-in-l, who in his mid-40s, has severe fibromyalgia and can’t work – should he have to be told how to spend his welfare money? He is careful, and scrapes by on a disability pension and some family help. Why should he and others like him have to be “nannied” like this?

  5. NOLA  

    Isn’t this the same as the basic card that we have had in the Northern Territory for the past 10 years,

  6. Mack Carson  

    I was stationed in West Germany in the UK army in late ’50’s.
    Had a deutche girl friend for most of that time. and worked there for a while after coming out of army for her dad

    They had a great system. Definitely should be here.
    A little long winded, but that’s me hey.

    Paid monthly over there. (That made you manage your funds. yes.)

    You had a card issued monthly. With a name and address on it.

    You fronted and saw that name. he stamped and signed your card.
    AND gave you work………………
    Street cleaning. tidying gardens. working for old folks. etc etc.
    for 6 hrs a day.
    End of time allocated. return to commencement point. signed/stamped off.
    5 days a week.
    Jobs varied every coupla days . Less boredom.

    End of month. You all got According to days logged on.
    IE 5 days not there. 5 days less paid.
    Simple and failsafe.

    Monthly bills. rent.electric etc paid automatically for you.

    Food/clothing vouchers from ALL stores (by law. no refusals from any businesses)
    Travel vouchers.
    and a SMALL amount of cash.

    Idea being (AND IT WORKED) That

    “you want cash. YOU get out and work for it”.

    Should have been implemented here decades ago.

    NO cigarettes nor Alcohol allowed on the vouchers.)

    I know of people. PERSONALLY. That are in 70’s.
    and NEVER worked in their lives. Nor their kids.

    In my eyes they should be put down after say 5 yrs.
    GIVE them an incentive..
    They only a useless drag on society.
    It’s bad enough having polies bleeding us.

    Oh and if they didn’t front for any days.
    NO CASH AT ALL> Just basic bills paid,

    • This welfare card is not like the one you are talking about, it has many flaws and I hope it never takes off. This is Australia we can do better.

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