Change to cashless card exit policy

The federal government has rejected calls from Labor to make the cashless welfare card program voluntary.

Labor's social services spokesperson Linda Burney said the card should be opt-in unless there was clear support for it from local communities.

"The government simply cannot continue to impose the card on communities where there is not clear support, and they can't continue to impose it in the absence of evidence about the card's effectiveness," she said in the lower house recently.

Ceduna was the first town in Australia to trial the card, in 2016.

The proposal came during debate on legislation to alter the trial exit procedure, which Labor supported.

The government's legislation to tweak the program passed the lower house, making the secretary of the Department of Social Services the decision-maker for exit applications.

The job is currently up to community bodies in a trial area, which the government said meant it was inconsistent.

The change also broadens reasons to exit the trial, with the secretary to consider a person's ability to manage their life more generally, rather than just financially.

Ms Burney said the trial had been "running too long" and was "no longer a trial", calling on the government to produce "real evidence about the effectiveness of the trial".

Meanwhile, both the Greens and the Australian Council of Social Service have rejected the Nationals' proposal to tie an increase to Newstart with the cashless debit card.