The Greens say the Government should abandon the Cashless Debit Card not continue to throw money at the failed punitive program.
“The $30 million “Job Ready Package” intended for the Cashless Debit Card Trial sites must be invested in supportive measures, for all people in regional, rural and remote areas that need support and training.
“According to a budget leak some portion of the “Job Ready Package” money will be allocated to assisting with helping people get tax file numbers, driver’s licences or other documentation, this should be happening right now in all areas.
“It’s frankly ridiculous that Employment Providers who are being paid billions in Government money are not already providing this essential and very basic support.
“Helping people address key barriers like poverty or assistance with administration or access to the internet has been recommended extensively by people in the Jobactive program and by experts for years.
“Now we finally have some tacit acknowledgement that we need to help people address what is stopping them finding work rather than just punishing them or telling them to “get a job”.
“It’s appalling that Government Senators keep spinning out their tired lines on how good the Cashless Debit Card is. It’s absolute rubbish and it needs to be called out.
“This Government has been unable to provide ANY compelling evidence that the card has had a positive outcome or achieved any of its supposed aims.
“The Government has spent billions pushing this punitive scheme, and millions on flawed evaluations trying to prove that this approach works and to justify their punitive approach.
“Government Senators claim they know what communities want when First Nations organisations have been extremely clear that this card is contrary to the Closing the Gap objectives of self-determination and free, prior informed consent.
“The card doesn’t work. It’s racist, discriminatory and punitive. If there was a genuine will to assist people with the barriers they face we would see investments in wrap around services that are delivered by the community and abandonment of the card.
“This card causes loss of dignity, shame and stigmatisation, this is what people have said when asked in the Government’s evaluations.”