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Majority of people find cashless card making their life harder: researcher

7 Dec 2017

A Senate inquiry has recommended that trials of the cashless debit card scheme be continued and expanded to new sites in other states next year — despite Labor signalling it will block such moves. The card aims to limit access to cash by quarantining 80 per cent of people's welfare money so it can't be spent on gambling or alcohol.

Trials have been running in Kununurra in WA's East Kimberley region, and in Ceduna in South Australia.

Yesterday RN Breakfast spoke to Ian Trust — an Aboriginal elder and executive director of the Wunan Foundation in Kununurra.

He says the trials in east Kimberley are largely achieving their goals.

But there are many others who are sceptical of the benefits of income management — and this cashless welfare card program in particular.

Elise Klein told RN Breakfast the Senate majority report is 'quite disappointing' as the majority of submissions did not support the bill being passed.

"Our research showed a very different story for the card," she said.

"It is true some people do like the card ... (but) 32 per cent say it's made their life worse."

Ms Klein said the Cashless Debit Card was called "the white card" by many indigenous people.

"It does reflect an on going neo-colonial punitive approach ... the majority of people are finding the card is making their lives harder."

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