The Government has agreed to extend the Cashless Debit Card trial sites in Ceduna, South Australia and East Kimberley, Western Australia due to the strong independent evaluation results, released today and in consultation with community leaders.
Download : Initial Conditions Report; Wave 1 Interim Evaluation Report – ORIMA Research
The Wave 1 Report of the independent evaluation being undertaken by ORIMA Research concluded that “overall, the [trial] has been effective to date… in particular, the trial has been effective in reducing alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling – establishing a clear ‘proof-of-concept’.”
The Cashless Debit Card aims to reduce the devastating effects of welfare fuelled alcohol, drug and gambling abuse. Over time it is hoped the card will assist people to break the cycle of welfare dependency by stabilising their lives and helping them into employment.
The Report found “most stakeholders felt that excessive alcohol consumption was at a “crisis point” and was having wide-ranging negative impacts on individuals, their families and the community.”
Under the current trial, 80 per cent of welfare payments are placed onto a recipient’s card, with the remaining 20 per cent placed into their regular bank account.
The trial has consisted of 3 parts – a Cashless Debit Card, comprehensive support services to help people break their addictions, and a community leadership group to guide the design and implementation.
The Report outlines key results across the two trial sites including:
- Alcohol – on average, of trial participants surveyed who reported that they do drink alcohol, 25% of participants and 13% of family members reported drinking alcohol less frequently, whilst 25% of participants reported engaging in binge drinking less frequently.
- Gambling – on average, of trial participants surveyed who reported they do gamble, 32% of participants and 15% of family members reported gambling less.
- Drug use – on average, of trial participants surveyed who reported using illegal drugsbefore the trial commenced, 24% reported using illegal drugs less often.
In addition, the evaluation data states a significant proportion (31%) of the participants surveyed indicated they had been better able to care for children and save more money.
Reductions in alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling have been “largely driven by the impact of the debit card quarantining mechanism and not by the additional services provided,” according to the Report.
The Report supports other data from local partners and anecdotal feedback:
The number of pick-ups made by the Kununurra Miriwoong Community Patrol Service for Alcohol in January 2017 was 19 per cent lower than in January 2016.
Monthly poker machine revenue in Ceduna and surrounding local government areas in January 2017 is 12 per cent lower compared to January 2016.
Admissions to the Wyndham Sobering-Up Unit in September 2016 were 49 per cent lower than before the trial began in September 2015.
The senior medical officer in the East Kimberley has reported a “dramatic reduction in alcohol related presentations to the emergency department”
The Ceduna mayor says that “it is the quietest the town has been.”
Retailers in both sites report an increase in white goods, clothes, food and household items purchased since the introduction of the card.
Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, worked with the community leaders on the design and implementation of the trial and believes the results support an extension of the card.
“The card is a not a panacea, but it has led to stark improvements in these communities.
There are very few other initiatives that have had such impact.
“A large part of the success has been the close working relationship with local leaders, whohave co-designed and implemented the trial with us. The South Australian and Western Australian State Governments have also been very supportive.
“There is still a lot of work to do, but if we can continue on this path, then over time we can make these communities safe, healthy and prosperous once again,” Minister Tudge said.
The extension of the card will allow the Government to make fully informed decisions about the future of welfare conditionality. The final evaluation report by ORIMA Research is due mid-2017.
Cashless Debit Card Trial – Overview
The Commonwealth Government is looking at the best possible ways to provide support to people, families and communities in locations where high levels of welfare dependence exist alongside high levels of harm related to drug and alcohol abuse.
The Cashless Debit Card Trial is aimed at finding an effective tool for supporting disadvantaged communities to reduce the consumption and effects of drugs, alcohol and gambling that impact on the health and wellbeing of communities, families and children.
How the cashless debit card works
The cashless debit card looks and operates like a normal bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, or to withdraw cash.
The card can be used anywhere that accepts debit cards. It will work online, for shopping and paying bills. The Indue website lists the approved merchants (link is external) and excluded merchants (link is external) for the trial.
Who will take part in the trial?
Under the trial, all recipients of working age income support payments who live in a trial location will receive a cashless debit card.
The full list of included payments is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.
People on the Age Pension, a veteran’s payment or who earn a wage can volunteer to take part in the trial. Information on volunteering for the trial is available. Application forms for people who wish to volunteer can be downloaded from the Indue website (link is external).
How will it affect Centrelink payments?
The trial doesn’t change the amount of money a person receives from Centrelink. It only changes the way in which people receive and spend their fortnightly payments:
- 80 per cent is paid onto the cashless debit card
- 20 per cent is paid into a person’s regular bank account.
Cashless debit card calculator
To work out how much will be paid onto your cashless debit card, enter your fortnightly payment amount into the following calculator.
Enter amount of fortnightly Centrelink payment Calculate
Money in your account
Use it when you need cash:
- School excursions
- Tuck shop
- Garage sale
Money on the card
Use it for:
- Pay bills
- Buy clothes
Anywhere with eftpos except:
- No grog
- No gambling
- No cash
Note: 100% of lump sum payments will be placed on the card. More information is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.
- Ceduna Cashless Debit Card Trial
- Kununurra and Wyndham Cashless Debit Card Trial
- Information for businesses
- Indue website (link is external)
- Cashless Debt Card Trial – Evaluation Framework Summary
- Cashless Debit Card Newsletters:
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail) or call 1800 252 604
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