Mr RAMSEY (Grey) (10:06): I’m going to take this opportunity to add to my comments from last night on the cashless debit card and its rollout. I said at the time that I thought it was pretty sad that the first urgent bill the government had to get through the parliament was on the cashless debit card. It’s a bill which will of course give more money to chronic gamblers, chronic alcoholics and chronic drug addicts.
I said that I had more to say. I do thank Minister Rishworth for coming to Ceduna, but I was disappointed at the fact that on her first visit to Ceduna she came on a mission, which was to shut down the card, not to find out whether the card worked. She did meet with the Far West Coast Indigenous leaders community council, and with the local council, and I sat in on that meeting. I also told her, when I had an opportunity to speak, that she and the government will be held responsible for whatever the outcome is and that they should be prepared for that, on the back of the fact that the state coroner found that seven individuals died in Ceduna owing to alcohol abuse, which led to a raft of changes in the town.
I can tell you, the Ceduna community is a vastly changed place compared with what it was seven or eight years ago, when we had bars up on windows, high levels of graffiti and attacks on property throughout the community. It’s a much more peaceful and civilised place at this time, and I largely put that down to the card. When I speak of the government responsibility here, I will say that I asked the former mayor, Allan Suter, who was a champion of this card—in fact, we worked together to bring firstly the BasicsCard and then the cashless debit card to Ceduna—whether there was something he’d like to say. He said that the PM and responsible ministers will be held responsible, especially for what happens to women and children in community. I was speaking recently to a friend from Ceduna who had been in Katherine and Tennant Creek and they were horrified by what they saw there. They said, ‘There but for the cashless debit card go we.’
My question is: if things go pear-shaped in Ceduna—and I hope they don’t, because I don’t want my community all smashed up—what will the minister do? What will the government do to address those problems? Are the federal government going to fund extra police? Are they going to fund night patrols? Are they going to fund community constables? What is it that they are going to do? Given the track record of all those things in actually getting rid of these types of antisocial behaviour, I wish them luck. We are soon going to find out in real time just what a good job the cashless debit card was doing. (Time expired)