Cashless card study lacked local perspective

Yet another ‘study’ of the Cashless Debit Card has been completed from far away without any local visitation.

Being given advice from more than 1000 kilometres away is starting to wear thin with the latest “expert” advice coming from Melbourne. The author has not been to Ceduna, has never sought advice about the card and appears to start and finish from the same pre-determined spot. 

A properly done study would be great but this effort tries to tell those actively involved how to suck eggs. It was completed without speaking to those involved in providing this service. A brief analysis of the report in last week’s Sentinel highlighted the following deficiencies:

  • The comments about lack of consultation are based on chatter on the internet and fail to acknowledge that more than 180 community groups and some individuals who expressed interest were given detailed information and were listened to.
  • The cherry picked detail about 49 per cent of those on the card saying it made their lives worse is a rather obvious one. Of course some who want to use benefits to purchase alcohol, drugs or gaming products are unhappy about the card. What else would you expect?
  • The comments about children’s lives are simply ridiculous and untrue and again based on internet chatter rather than facts. I would urge to author to speak to local police who can enlighten her.
  • A preference for spending more on social services is equally misplaced and fails to understand that the card has actually resulted in this happening.
  • The card program does not in any way suggest that all people on benefits are dysfunctional but only a very foolish person would argue that no person on benefits has a problem or needs help.
  • Exposure to the facts by actually visiting Ceduna and the East Kimberly regions and speaking to those who are delivering services would be of immense value.

Most of those delivering services to people on benefits care very deeply about welfare and attest to the real advances being made thanks to a card which is by no means perfect but has resulted in huge improvements to the lives of so many people.

With all due respect I would invite the author to leave her office in Victoria and to come to Ceduna or the East Kimberley to learn more about the topic in hand.

Ceduna mayor Allan Suter