People living below the poverty line in Bankstown would suffer further hardship if the planned trial of a cashless welfare card resulted in its widespread introduction, Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
Legislation to introduce trials for a cashless welfare card passed the Senate on the combined vote of Liberal, National and Labor parties. The trial will be held in Ceduna in South Australia.
“The Greens are strongly opposed to cashless welfare cards and will resist their introduction to disadvantaged communities in regional NSW and western Sydney,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“With over 33, 000 people living in Bankstown reliant on income support through Newstart, Youth Allowance, Disability and Carers payments, a switch to cashless welfare cards would have a huge impact.
“These cards will drive deep divisions within our society. Inequality will increase. Many people will suffer a loss of dignity as they lose control of their own income.
“Labor has failed to stand up for disadvantaged communities by backing this measure.
“The income management scheme trialled in Bankstown in 2012 was a failure.
“Rather than learning the lessons from that trial the government is introducing a more extreme measure with the cashless welfare card that will limit cash payments to 20 per cent of a person’s entitlements.
“Experience shows that most people on income support manage their finances well and quickly learn how to make their finances go a long way,” Senator Rhiannon said.