Some recipients say the cashless debit card has made budgeting harder, not easier.

Labor’s bill to end cashless debit card sparks mixed feelings, alcohol misuse fears in remote WA

The federal government’s move to scrap the cashless debit card has prompted mixed feelings in remote Western Australia amid concerns it could see a spike in alcohol-related harm.

Labor today introduced legislation to abolish the income management scheme.

If passed, the card would no longer be used by more than 17,000 people at trial sites across Australia, including the Goldfields and East Kimberley in WA.

The card quarantines 80 per cent of a person’s welfare payments and cannot be used for alcohol, gambling or cash withdrawals.

The scheme was put in place as an attempt to reduce alcohol-related harm in parts of WA where social dysfunction is rife.

But the trial sparked a broader debate between those labeling it a racist measure targeting Indigenous people and others who argued it successfully limited access to alcohol and gambling.

The card was introduced in the East Kimberley to tackle widespread social dysfunction.(ABC News: Ted O’Connor)

In the lead up to the election, Labor flagged that it would allow communities that could show significant support for the card to keep it as a compulsory measure.


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