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Rudd's welfare card a fraud.

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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Shadow Minister for Human Services

The Labor Government's planned welfare debit card is a blatant case of catch-up with the previous Government's far reaching initiative to quarantine welfare payments in designated communities, Shadow Human Services Minister Senator Helen Coonan said today.

The announcement is just another version of welfare payments being quarantined in Northern Territory communities which are subject to the emergency intervention.

The Howard Government pioneered the move which ensured welfare payments were not being spent on alcohol, pornography or gambling at the expense of properly providing for children.

''This shows that Labor has no new ideas and no comprehensive plan to tackle the appalling conditions of abuse and neglect in some Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, let alone the rest of the country,'' Senator Coonan said.

''There is next to no detail as to when and how this welfare card will be rolled out or how a mere pin number will protect a card from being swapped sold or used for the wrong reasons.

''It is no secret that Labor has poor record at addressing welfare fraud,'' Senator Coonan said.

''Let's not forget that the Rudd Government's 'razor gang' has decided to slash $150 million from Centrelink funding, which will reportedly result in up to 2000 job cuts.

''Centrelink is already struggling to meet its existing workload.

''How will this new welfare card be designed, implemented and monitored if Centrelink doesn't have the staff or resources to oversee it?'' Senator Coonan asked.