Cashless Welfare Card to be Expanded to Goldfields WA Only

The Senate has agreed to expanding the Cashless Debit Card (CDC), but only to the Goldfields region in WA.  

As we reported last week, the Government was trying to extend the current trials in Ceduna and East Kimberley for one year to 30 June 2019, and allow for the the expansion of the CDC to anywhere in Australia, including planned trials at the Goldfields in WA and the electorate of Hinkler in Queensland's Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region.

Under the trials, 80% of a person's welfare payment is put onto a CDC, which cannot be used for gambling or to buy alcohol.  The remaining 20% is put into a bank account and can be withdrawn as cash.

After opposing the initial Bill, the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) has agreed to amendments that will only permit expansion of the trials to the Goldfields, which is defined as the local Shires of Leonora, Laverton, Coolgardie and Menzies, and the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.  The amendments also permit the existing trials in Ceduna and East Kimberley will also be extended to 30 June 2019.  The Bill will now return to the lower house for approval.  

The passage of the Bill through the Senate means that future trials or expansion of the CDC may have to be legislated on a case-by-case basis.