ACOSS welcomes the passage of the legislation to abolish mandatory cashless debit. We congratulate the government for prioritising this bill and agreeing to amendments to support community-led services and initiatives in cashless debit sites.
ACOSS acknowledges the long-standing advocacy against mandatory income quarantining of The Greens and the improvements to the bill they secured. We also acknowledge the Jacqui Lambie Network and Senator David Pocock for their support of the bill and work with government to improve it.
While we welcome the abolition of mandatory cashless debit, mandatory income management continues for more than 25,000 people in the Northern Territory and other sites for at least 18 months.
Acting CEO Edwina MacDonald said:
“This is a long overdue step to removing one of the worst examples of paternalism in our social security system. Cashless debit is a failed policy that discriminates against First Nations People and people on low incomes. We congratulate the community members and organisations who have fought hard to abolish cashless debit.
“We urge the Federal Government to also abolish mandatory income management. Income management has also failed to meet its objectives and discriminates against First Nations people, with four in five people subjected to the card being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
“Mandatory income quarantining, in whatever form, does not support individuals or their communities. Repeated evaluations have shown it does not work. It is instead a tool of punishment that targets people receiving income support.
“It’s important that the Federal Government quickly move to end mandatory income management, working with communities to do so.”