Kalgoorlie-Boulder CEO speaks on Hinkler cashless card plan
IT WAS one of the first sites selected for the trial of the Cashless Debit Card.
And for the CEO of the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder council, the turnaround in the last six months has been astonishing.
John Walker, who was elected CEO of the regional West Australian shire in 2016, said there was positive evidence in the city's crime statistics and local business reports that the controversial card works.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder was one of the sites selected in the Goldfields region for the roll-out.
"We've seen reports from shopkeepers on the change in buying habits and heard about the reduced numbers of people being reported to hospitals because of violent behaviours,” Mr Walker said.
"There's that transfer of expenditure and positive results to anti-social behaviour on our streets, which coincides with a police crackdown in the area.
"What we're also finding is there's been no discrimination against the people who are on the card.
"Nobody looks at it in the shops, it's just tap and off it goes.”
About 3000 cards were issued in the region. Mr Walker told the Chronicle about 60 per cent of these people were non-indigenous.
"So the thing about our region, is it's not purely an Indigenous issue,” he said.
He conceded there were some issues with money being used for local fetes, garage sales and other community events, but described these issues as being "very limited.”
"Hinkler will get the benefit of our lessons,” Mr Walker said.