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Government to trial ‘Healthy Welfare Card’

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The Australian government is planning on trialling a cashless welfare card in an effort to stop recipients from spending money on alcohol, drugs and gambling. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Alan, Tudge, says that the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ will be trialled in small communities with “welfare-fuelled alcohol and drug abuse”. Social Services Minister Scott Morrison believes the card is an “excellent” idea but says the Government needs to learn more from trials before it becomes a mainstream solution.

The card would work like a debit card and could be used in any shop that has Visa and EFTPOS facilities. However, it could not be used to buy alcohol or drugs or used to gamble. Currently more than 20,000 Australians already their welfare payments controlled voluntarily or compulsorily.

There is already some opposition to the card with National Welfare Rights Network president, Maree O’Halloran, saying that it would be sad to see the card used to control people and take away their choices. Greens leader, Christine Milne, has also voiced against the card stating that is was “offensive” to see wealthy individuals, including the Prime Minister, telling Australians who are less well-off how they should manage their income.

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