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$20 million trialling the cashless card could be much better spent on services for people struggling: Greens

The Government should abandon the punitive cashless welfare card and invest the money in programs that really work, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"This card is an ideological waste of money by the Government. Any sensible analysis of the interim evaluation shows very clearly that the Government is spinning the results – but even they can't spin the fact that half the people surveyed said their life was worse off.

“That money should go towards wrap around services, supports and programs for people struggling with drug, alcohol and gambling addiction and tackling the underlying causes of disadvantage. Why is the Government spending money on a mining billionaires ideological baby that has been tried and evaluated before? It doesn’t work.

“People who work in drug and alcohol services for people struggling communities have plenty of ideas on how that money could be better spent.  Alan Tudge should sit down with these groups and the broader community and talk about how we genuinely move to drive down disadvantage.

“We need preventative measures that go to the root of the problem, we need job programs that actually move people into meaningful employment and we need to be encouraging community engagement so people don’t feel so isolated.

“Labor are being populist in their response that the card should not be rolled out nationally, that should also apply to specific regions and cohorts that the Government has suggested applying the card to. I urge Labor to oppose any form of extension, this includes the card being imposed on young people or regional communities.” 

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