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Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Page: 5994

Senator WATERS (Queensland) (13:14): I guess my question is going to the cost-benefit of even rolling this card out at all in the region. I've already noted in my consultations with the folk there—Kathryn Wilkes and Daniel Stafford in particular—that there is no support for this card and, in fact, they are crying out for money to be spent on funding services like homelessness and domestic violence shelters and education pathways and on creating jobs. So my question is: has the department or the minister, or anybody in charge of this, actually done that cost-benefit analysis of funding those support services? Surely they would reap far more social benefits, as QCOSS has pointed out. With the dubious benefits of the card so far, the evidence just isn't there to show that it works. In fact, there's the potential for social harm to increase. Why don't you just fund the services that we know work and help people. Surely doing at least a cost-benefit analysis of that is worthwhile. Is that on the cards? If so, can you tell me anything about it?