The cashless debit card trial has produced outstanding results and is to continue, which is an extremely good result for our community.
It must be acknowledged some members of some Aboriginal community boards do not support this move but the outcomes are so good the cashless welfare card is seen as an important step forward for many people.
The card has helped many families and reduced levels of drug taking, some use of excessive amounts of alcohol and the extent of gambling.
It has assisted children and all family members by diverting some part of welfare benefits to more constructive purposes.
A most comprehensive survey of card holders and various other people found alcohol consumption and particularly binge drinking had been significantly reduced.
A percentage of card holders advised that they were using illicit drugs and that the card had significantly reduced the amount being consumed.
Similar comments were made about gambling including online gambling.
The excellent survey results were supported by the statistics collected as part of the trial.
The various support services that are provided to support those on the trial have been found to be invaluable and a great benefit to welfare recipients.
The card, whilst great, is not a silver bullet and works so well as a consequence of the combined effect of both it and the assisting services that go with it, such as Street Beat, which has been priceless.
It must be recognised that there are those who do not support the use of the cashless welfare card however the overall good that is being achieved far outweighs the concern being expressed by a minority.
Any inconvenience being experienced because of the card should be regarded as a small price to pay for the benefit of those who most need help.
The various individuals, community leaders and dedicated public service employees have invested a considerable amount of time and effort into making this trial so successful.
All concerned should be congratulated for working so hard and diligently to help other members of the community.
Finally thanks are due to Minister Alan Tudge from the Australian government (and the opposition and cross benchers) for their continued support of this great initiative.
Ceduna mayor Allan Suter