Cashless Welfare Cards

ABA supports targeted measures to reduce alcohol misuse where the communities impacted are properly consulted and have agreed. This is consistent with ABA’s policy principle of ‘local solutions for local communities’.

Measures to reduce alcohol misuse must be based on high quality evidence and targeted at specific misuse, not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

The Federal Government is trialling a cashless welfare card in four remote towns under an initiative named the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’. These townships have been promised large increases of funding for alcohol and drug treatment services.

Under the 12-month trial, people receiving working age income support will have 80 per cent of their payment ‘quarantined’ and provided through a card that cannot be used to buy alcohol, or for gambling.  Cash withdrawals are limited to the remaining 20% of the income support payment.

The card restrictions – once issued in the remote trial sites – apply everywhere in Australia and they cannot be used in stores that sell alcohol or to gamble.

Extending these initiatives without consultation and community support unfairly penalises income support recipients who do not have alcohol or gambling problems, because of the actions of a few.

For industry media comment regarding this issue please contact Alcohol Beverages Australia

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