CASHLESS CARD: Chance for welfare recipients to leave trial
WELFARE recipients placed on the Cashless Debit Card will soon be able to apply to opt out of the Federal Government's program.
Some Hinkler residents were placed on the card earlier this year, but from July 1, applications can be made to leave the trial.
In Hinkler, 6700 people aged 35 and under on unemployment benefits or parenting payments received the card.
It meant they could access 20 per cent of their payment in cash while the rest remained on the card and could not be used to purchase alcohol or gambling products.
The region was chosen for the roll-out of the welfare card because of its high youth unemployment and intergenerational welfare dependence.
Federal member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said applications to leave the program could be made from July, in line with criteria set out in the legislation.
"The Secretary of the Department of Social Services will then need to carefully assess these criteria before removing anyone from the trial," he said.
"The criteria to be considered include, but is not limited to, financial management, the interest of any children, the risk of homelessness, the person's individual health and safety and other circumstances."
The ability to opt-out of the system came into effect after the Senate passed an amended bill to extend trials of the scheme in Ceduna, the East Kimberley and the Goldfields until June 2020.
Under the changes, welfare recipients in all trial sites can exit the scheme if they're able to demonstrate "reasonable and responsible management" of their financial affairs.
The ability of cardholders to opt-out of the system has already come under fire from the Greens, with Senator Rachel Siewert expressing concerns that the process to leave was "very hard".
She said that to apply for an exception, people had to hand over private information such as financial details.
Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders and Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour have also voiced their objection to the Cashless Debit Card.