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Basics card already obsolete.



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Wed, 23rd July 2008 BASICS CARD ALREADY OBSOLETE

Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Shadow Minister for Human Services

Following yesterday's unveiling of Labor's new income management card design to be implemented in the Northern Territory, Shadow Human Services Minister Helen Coonan has criticised the newly titled BasicsCard as ''already obsolete''.

''This whole measure is carrying out the exact same course of action the Coalition Government implemented - welfare quarantining. All Kevin Rudd has done is simply dressed it up and called it something different,'' Senator Coonan said.

''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.

''The swipe card technology being used is old technology and Labor still can't explain how a mere pin number will protect a card from being swapped, sold or used for the wrong reason.

As revealed in Senate Estimates in May, the PIN number given with the BasicsCard is the only thing protecting the card from being used fraudulently by someone else.

This means cardholders can simply swap the card with the PIN number for cash, using the cash to purchase goods prohibited under the BasicsCard.

''After all their talk and all their spin, Kevin Rudd has failed to devise a system that will use more up to date technology.

''It's just further evidence of Labor having 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 along the rest of the country,'' Senator Coonan said.

''At least they've got the name of it right - BasicsCard - because it's just that.''