Inquiry into Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019: submission

Aboriginal Australians economic conditions Welfare recipients Cashless debit card Well-being Australia

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS)'s submission on the proposed Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019. This submission refers only to the aspects of the Bill that relate to the Cashless Debit Card Trials (CDCT).

Key Findings:

  • QCOSS does not support the extension of mandatory income management, including the extension of the first three CDCT sites to 30 June 2020.
  • There is a lack of evidence of a causal link between people receiving income support and people with alcohol, drug and gambling problems.
  • Government funding of over $34 million so far (Senate Estimates, 2019) would be much better directed to alcohol, drug and gambling supports and services in these communities
  • Any participation in income management should be on a voluntary basis and supported by a suite of relevant support services.

If a program is expensive and not meeting its objectives, you do not extend it. If it is found to be causing harm, you end it immediately. You cannot evaluate a failed program into success. A key reason provided for extension in the Explanatory Memorandum of this Bill is to “provide sufficient time for the findings of a second evaluation of the program to be finalised”. However, the Department of Social Services reported to Senate Estimates that the Impact Evaluation for the first three trial sites will be completed by June 2019. This makes this reason for the extension invalid.


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