Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he welcomes the Government announcment of the extension of the Cashless Debit Card trial sites in Ceduna, and the East Kimberley.
“The interim independent evaluation resleased today are strong and following consultation with community leaders the Government has decided that to abandon the trial now would be an abandonment of the individuals and the community which have benefitted so much,” Mr Ramsey said.
“The indigenous community leaders, the Mayor Allan Suter, Ministers Scullion and Tudge and I have been in regular consultation right through the trial.
“As issues have arisen, they have been addressed and then support services targetteing the transition period and services like financial councilling and planning have and are making a significant difference to the communities.
“The feedback I have received has been overwhelmingly positive and I am encouraged the results of the independent evaluation for the initial trial period has shown good results with reductions in hospital admittances, crime, gambling and alcohol consumption.
“The extension of the trial will be assessed every six months.”
Mr Ramsey said Mayor Suter is very supportive of the card and reported since its introduction “it is the quietest the town has been.”
“This is the very reason the cashless debit card was introduced with the hope of breaking the cycle of violence as a result of alcohol and welfare dependency by stabilising the lives of recipients and their families and helping them into employment,” he said.
“”People on the cashless debit card do have the opportunity to ask for an increase in the amount of cash available by applying to the Community Panel.
“The ratio can be increased up to 50:50 if the person can be shown to be responsible and not at risk of drugs, gambling and alcohol.
“Community leaders, both indigenous and non-indigenous, have a thorough understanding of local issues and believe the trial has helped to address the devastating impacts of drug and alcohol misuse and problem gambling in their communities.”
The trial has consisted of 3 parts – a Cashless Debit Card, comprehensive support services to help people break their addictions, and a community leadership group to guide the design and implementation.
“The report outlines some of the improvements across the two sites including: significant drops in alcohol consumption, gambling,and illicit drugs,” Mr Ramsey said.
“Thirty one percent of those surveyed feel they are better able to look after their children, retailers are reporting increased sales of white goods, clothes, food and household items.
“With those types of results it would been bordering on irresponsible not to extend the trial”, he concluded
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 8633 1744
March 14 2017