Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has condemned the Labor Party for opposing further roll-out of the Cashless Debit Card and effectively turning its back on desperate communities plagued by drug, alcohol and gambling abuse.
The Cashless Debit Card, introduced last year, has been a success at Ceduna and is planned for introduction in the Western Australian Goldfields and Bundaberg next year. Mr Ramsey said alcohol abuse was destroying communities and culture and it was estimated that in many remote communities, a quarter of all babies are born brain damaged due to alcohol abuse.
The card, which restricts money spent on alcohol, drugs or gambling was subject to an independent evaluation done by ORIMA Research which found that there was “considerable positive impact” in communities where it is operating. It found 41 per cent of recipients were drinking less alcohol, 48 per cent were gambling less and taking fewer drugs.
Forty per cent said they were better able to care for children. Labor’s excuse for not supporting the further rollout across the country is that there was insufficient consultation and support, but Mr Ramsey said many of community leaders in were desperate for the card to be introduced to help break the cycle, particularly given its success in my electorate. Minister Tudge said that Labor’s opposition is purely ideological.
“They have joined the Greens in opposing the card, irrespective of the devastation that alcohol is causing these communities, paid by the welfare dollar,” Minister Tudge said.
“These communities are crying out for help, to stop the drug and alcohol abuse; to stop the violence and to build better lives for their children – why does Labor want to support welfare dollars continuing to go to alcohol and drugs, knowing the devastation it causes in these places?”
Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith (08)8633 1744