Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has been a vocal critic of the cashless card.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has been a vocal critic of the cashless card. Contributed

CASHLESS CARD: MP accuses Greens of 'scaremongering'

HINKLER MP Keith Pitt has accused opponents of the cashless card of "scaremongering" after concerns were raised regarding how the success of the initiative was being measured.

The welfare card is currently being rolled out across the Hinkler electorate.

A Senate inquiry into the cashless card was held in Adelaide this week regarding the first three trial sites, including Ceduna, the Goldfields and the East Kimberley region.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said experts had slammed the Federal Government for using their trial site evaluations to justify the extension of the Cashless Debt Card trials.

"Academics and researchers are now at a loss as to how one would even begin to undertake a proper evaluation because the approach has been so haphazard, particularly given that no proper baseline data was been collected at any of the trial sites," she said.

"You can't claim to have seen an improvement if you have nothing to measure it against. It's really not credible to say there has been an improvements when the evidence isn't there to show that."

Ms Siewert said both academics and people in the trial site communities were cynical about the government's claims that the roll-out of the cards was intended to be just a trial.

"For it to have been a trial it would have to be rigorously and independently evaluated with expert field researchers embedded in the community from the beginning doing thorough analysis.

"This is not a trial but an experiment on vulnerable people," she said.

Mr Pitt hit back, saying the Greens and Labor had never supported the policy.

"I'm about making positive change for the Hinkler electorate, the Greens and Labor are for doing nothing," he said.

"A baseline data collection is currently being undertaken in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region.

"It includes interviews with potential or current CDC participants. Where possible, these interviews will take place prior to participants receiving the Cashless Debit Card.

"The Bundaberg and Hervey Bay baseline data collection project also involves analysis of relevant administrative data, qualitative interviews with stakeholders and pilot testing a quantitative survey instrument."