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BasicsCard delivers more than $3 million to the NT.

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Minister Ludwig’s Media Contact: Sarah Cosson 0423 823 843

MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig Minister for Human Services Senator for Queensland

Tuesday 11 November 2008

BasicsCard delivers more than $3 million to the NT Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, today said almost half of all income managed customers in the Northern Territory were now using the BasicsCard, spending more than $3 million in the past two months.

“Since the BasicsCard was introduced in Katherine on 8 September, more than 7,000 cards have been issued,” Senator Ludwig said.

“That means almost half of the 15,500 Australians on income management in the NT are using the BasicsCard to access their income managed funds for purchases worth about $100,000 each day.”

“Customers are clearly embracing the card, with more than $3 million spent on priority goods and services through the BasicsCard since the start of September.”

The BasicsCard is now available in most major urban centres as well as smaller communities in the NT.

The Minister said it was great to see that the BasicsCard is being well accepted by customers and shop owners.

“It makes it easier for customers on income management to put food on the table for their children and reduces the red-tape burden placed on small retailers - it’s good news all round,” Senator Ludwig said.

“Shop owners say the administrative requirements of income management are now much simpler.”

“There are now more than 200 individual shops and service providers that accept the BasicsCard across the NT, making it much easier for income managed customers to purchase every day priority goods, such as food and clothing.”

“The Rudd Government has committed to continuing income management because of the benefits it’s providing to local communities,” Senator Ludwig said.

“The BasicsCard was introduced by the Rudd Government in response to the Income Management problems encountered by communities and shop owners.”

Any shop selling or providing priority goods and services can accept the BasicsCard once they apply and are approved. Shop owners must agree not to sell excluded goods such as alcohol, tobacco and pornography, or dispense cash, through the BasicsCard.