Service criticises government's Cashless Debit Card

THE Queensland Council of Social Service has issued a statement criticising the Federal Government's decision to bring the Cashless Debit Card to the Hinkler electorate.

The card will be rolled out to those aged under 35 on employment and parenting benefits.

It can not be used to gamble or purchase alcohol.

"It is fundamentally flawed thinking to believe that a complex social issue such as alcohol, drug and gambling problems in a community can be solved through changes to the welfare system," QCOSS chief executive officer Mr Mark Henley said.

"If the government is serious about tackling social issues then it should make any participation in income management voluntary, and supported by a suite of relevant, adequately funded, holistic services.

"Current evaluation of the mandatory cashless debit card trial sites in other states shows no conclusive evidence that it works for the stated intent.

"There is also a lack of evidence of a causal link between people receiving income support and those with alcohol, drug and gambling problems."

But Federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has made no apologies for the move, which he says is necessary.

"We know of all the people on unemployment benefits today under the age of 30, 90 per cent of them had parents on benefits in the last 15 years," he said. "We also know more than half of them will be on welfare in a decade's time unless we do something different."

Topics:  alan tudge cashless debit card hinkler

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