Cashless Card will strike a balance: letter
I WAS a Social Security Field Assessor for over 20 years and I whole-heartedly support the cashless debit card being proposed by Keith Pitt and others.
I saw many changes to the welfare system in my time.
And, as always, people hate change and will rile against it without knowing the facts or stopping to consider the wider benefits.
They only think about themselves.
For example, people were up in arms in the 1990's, when the Government changed the way unemployment payments were made so that both the husband and wife received money.
Prior to that, only the husband (head of the household) received government assistance, and in many cases the money was blown at the pub that day, leaving the wife unable to feed her children.
The decision to split payments was highly unpopular, but I am sure the statistics now show it was a move in the right direction that empowered women.
This too is a storm in a teacup, which has had positive community-wide effects elsewhere. Why not bring it here? God knows we need to try something and I haven't heard any better ideas from opponents of the card.
I saw some horrific things in my job - many children living in appalling conditions because the parents' wants came before the childrens' needs.
I saw people on unemployment benefits sending money overseas to potential love interests they met online - I'm sure they're very grateful for their Australian tax dollars.
I've seen people receive charity vouchers to purchase nappies, only to get a cash refund on the nappies to buy smokes.
Free rein doesn't work and neither do food stamps.
I believe the cashless debit card strikes the right balance.
People can withdraw 20% of their unemployment payments in cash. The card can be used anywhere that Eftpos is available, except alcohol and gambling venues.
People who do the right thing have nothing to fear.
And I say if you want to control it, EARN IT.