Indigenous senator Jacinta Price slams Anthony Albanese’s government as ‘racist’ for keeping Indigenous communities on controversial welfare system
- Senator Jacinta Price labels government ‘racist’ over cashless debit card
- Federal government allowing residents to opt in to the new welfare program
- People in Northern Territory must continue using basics card
Jacinta Price has labelled the federal government ‘racist’ for keeping the controversial basics card in certain communities while abolishing the cashless debt card in others.
Anthony Albanese‘s government confirmed plans to keep the Northern Territory under income management programs – which offers cards with payments that can only be used in approved stores. The territory has a higher percentage of Indigenous residents.
The BasicsCard is used exclusively for 20,000 welfare recipients in the NT and cannot be used on alcohol, pornography, tobacco and gambling.
The cashless debit card, used around the country, sees 20 per cent of the holder’s income quarantined against cash withdrawals, gambling and purchases of alcohol.
Other areas, including East Kimberley, Goldfields and Bundaberg-Hervey Bay, will see the cashless debt card become a voluntary opt-in scheme.
Jacinta Price has labelled the federal government ‘racist’ for keeping the controversial basics card in certain communities while abolishing the cashless debt card in others
The BasicsCard is used exclusively for 20,000 welfare recipients in the NT and cannot be used on alcohol, pornography, tobacco and gambling
BasicsCard and Cashless debit card explained
The card can’t be used to buy any of the following:
Alcohol, pornography, tobacco and tobacco products, gambling products, gambling services, home-brew kits and home-brew concentrates, gift cards or vouchers that can be transferred for cash or credit.
Cashless debit card:
The card can’t be used to withdraw cash or buy: Alcohol, gambling products, some gift cards
Ms Price said the Albanese government were targeting Aboriginals with the scheme – which is set to be voted on in the Senate.
‘First they say that’s racist to introduce income management, now they’re allowing just for those in the Northern Territory – who we know are predominantly Indigenous Australians – to be kept on the basics card,’ she told reporters.
‘So, it’s these actions I would call racist. Because the former Coalition government made plans to ensure that the cashless debit card would be available to all welfare recipients eventually across the nation.’
The change will see 17,000 people given the option to opt in or out of the cashless debit card system.
The enhanced program will come into play from July next year for whoever opts in, while residents in Cape York and the Northern Territory will be automatically moved over under the new income management program.
Deputy PM Richard Marles described the cashless debit card as a legislation that would ‘strip people of their dignity’.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth defending the decision, saying there were different models for different areas.
‘That is a different model that is not like the other sites,’ she told ABC Radio.
‘In Cape York, it is a model where individuals are referred as an option with elders, as well as a number of other interventions.’
Anthony Albanese’s government confirmed plans to keep the Northern Territory under income management programs – which offers cards with payments that can only be used in approved stores. The territory has a higher percentage of Indigenous residents
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the move to allow people to opt in to the cashless system was appealing to an ‘inner-city woke audience’.
‘The Coalition strongly supports the cashless debit card for welfare payments to working age recipients where alcohol and drugs are a problem,’ Mr Dutton said in July.
‘Research from the University of Adelaide showed the cashless debit card led to a 21 per cent decrease in gambling and 45 per cent of people believed it had improved their lives.
‘Prime Minister, to please an inner city woke audience, you’ve abolished the card, and as Jacinta Price points out, it will result in high instances of domestic violence and assault in Indigenous communities. Why make a bad situation worse?’