20 Age Pensioners on cashless welfare card, what does it mean for you?
LATE last year, we reported that Age Pensioners in Cape York could be put onto the Cashless Welfare Card compulsorily.
We can now report that Age Pensioners in Cape York have been put onto the Cashless Welfare Card compulsorily.
The Government’s response to a Question on Notice by ALP Senator Nita Green puts the matter beyond doubt.
Senator Nita’s question: How many Age Pension recipients are currently on the Cashless Debit Card?
The Government’s response: twenty, of whom six voluntarily; fourteen were referred for the Card by the Queensland Families Responsibilities Commission.
So, that puts paid to the Government’s claims it would never put Age Pensioners onto the Cashless Welfare Card
What does this mean for Age Pensioners elsewhere?
The Government has indicated to “financial institutions” (aka the big banks) that it is keen to roll out the Card. Obviously, financial institutions will only be interested if there is money in rolling out the Card. This means more people than just the people in the Card’s so-called trial areas will need to go on it. Age Pensioners, being by far the largest group of social security recipients, an Australia-wide Card would only be likely to go ahead if Age Pensioners could be put onto it.
This would not necessarily mean that Age Pensioners would go onto Income Management.
Income Management is where the Cashless Welfare Card cannot be used for alcohol purchases or gambling and a few other things.
The Card could be set up to allow alcohol purchases and so on for certain categories and subcategories of social security recipients.
Only a government with an electoral death wish would restrict millions of Age Pensioners to drinking fruit juice and playing poker with match sticks.
So why would the Australian Government be interested in rolling out the Cashless Welfare Card Australia-wide to every social security recipient, including Age Pensioners?
The answer to that probably lies in the areas of privatisation of social security administration and also in the area of data collection. Data on the way people spend their social security payments.
Privatisation of social security administration has reared its ugly head before.
Data collection is new.
Data can be sold commercially, although privacy regulation would prevent the sale of personal data. It can be used to inform Centrelink compliance policies.
Also, a card restricts where you can shop. And a cash withdrawal limit makes life difficult.
Clearly, the Cashless Welfare Card needs to be stopped!