City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder seeks to replace cashless card

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder seeks to replace cashless card

A proposal for the repeal of the cashless debit card has been submitted to the Senate Community Affairs Committee by the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

The council's submission on August 9 was one of 40 made to the committee and called for alternatives to be developed before the card was scrapped.

The submission reads that the cashless debit card has made a significant difference in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder community.

This includes a reduction in levels of alcohol use and associated behaviours, early improvements to child welfare and well-being, changes in spending on household items, improvements to financial management and a reduction of over 57 per cent in crime over the life of the program. The inquiry held a second public hearing on the Bill, with two more hearings to be held this month.

The final public hearing will be held on August 22 before a decision by the committee.

The federal government wants to transition away from the cashless debit card in the next parliamentary sitting period in September.

Mayor says card has led to good decline in crime.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler said he was in favor of retaining the program.

Col Blanch, WA police commissioner, said the card had been beneficial for communities in remote communities.

He said that it gives the chance for the more senior people in families and elders to use the money on food for the kids and other things.

It just seems to settle the community down and gives them more time to spend their money on priority needs. Bowler said if the card was to be repealed, he was unsure if a job readiness program introduced in January would continue.

He said the program, which has seen 70 people find a job since its inception, had been a great success.

While the submission pointed to the social benefits the card has had in the community, others have called for it to be abolished.

A submission by the WA Council of Social Services said the card's use was harmful to the communities in which it had been introduced.

The submission reads that this is a stigmatising and discriminatory policy that seeks to restrict and control the behaviour of individuals, rather than address the systematic and structural causes of social issues and challenges in our communities.

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder council submitted recommendations that were to be considered by the committee when making its decision.

There are recommendations for further consultation, more support for the community and keeping the card in place until alternative arrangements are developed and funded.