Submission to the Inquiry into the Repeal of the Cashless Debit Card

August 15, 2022

Progressive Economics

Per Capita welcomes both the government’s decision to repeal the disempowering Cashless Debit Card and the opportunity to provide a submission to this inquiry.

We note that the proposed legislation will:

  • Remove the ability for any new entrants to be put on the card;
  • Enable the more than 17,000 existing cashless debit card participants to be progressively transitioned off the card as soon as the bill receives royal assent, allowing for participants to regain the financial freedom they’ve been asking for;
  • Enable the Family Responsibilities Commission to continue to support their community members by placing them onto income management where the need exists;
  • Allows for the Minister for Social Services to determine, following further consultation with First Nations people and her colleagues, how the Northern Territory participants on the CDC will transition, and the income management arrangements that will exist; and
  • Will allow for the repeal of the cashless debit card on a day to be fixed by proclamation or a maximum of six months after royal assent—allowing for the necessary time to support a staged transition off the card. It will also make consequential amendments to a number of other acts and effectively removes CDC from all social services legislation.

In this submission we will reiterate Per Capita’s position on the Cashless Debit Card, which we have placed on the public record in our Submission to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry Into Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Continuation Of Cashless Welfare) Bill 2020.

We will also argue that the government should, consistent with the tenor of this bill, reject all paternalistic practices relating to the provision of income support and move towards a new framework to protect people from precarity.