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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14847


Ms BURNEY (Barton) (13:12): I'll make some very brief comments in relation to this bill. I'm pleased that the Senate has agreed to the amendments that were put forward and that the government has agreed as well. Labor have consistently expressed serious concerns about the cashless debit card, and we have consistently opposed its national rollout.

It is encouraging to see the government exhibit some acknowledgement that there are serious concerns to be had about this card. There simply is no evidence that this card works, and the government botched its own assessment of the card. We know that in many instances participants are unable to purchase essential items at more affordable prices. Labor's amendments will mitigate the arbitrary impacts that this card has on participants. Why should someone who can demonstrate responsible management of their finances be subjected to this card? Why should someone making an effort to look for a job to get back into the workforce be subjected to this card? Why should someone at risk of homelessness be subjected to this card? Children should be protected from the impacts of this card, too. Labor's amendments provide an opportunity to opt out for people who do the right thing or are vulnerable to the impacts of the card.

Finally, as we have reiterated time and time again, Labor have serious concerns about the impacts of this card. This bill, as amended, mitigates against those impacts but also ensures continuity of support in these communities.