Labor wants community engagement on cashless card

VISIT: Senator for South Australia Marielle Smith and Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney in Ceduna last week. Picture: Luca Cetta

VISIT: Senator for South Australia Marielle Smith and Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney in Ceduna last week. Picture: Luca Cetta

Labor has reiterated its stance on the cashless debit card and says it would support maintaining the card in towns such as Ceduna if there was community support and consultation.

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney visited the West Coast last week, meeting with community members and service providers in Ceduna, Scotdesco and Koonibba during her stay.

She visited alongside Senator for South Australia Marielle Smith and Labor's spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs Kyam Maher and said it was an opportunity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal locals to talk about issues in the region, including the cashless card, Newstart, promoting tourism and mobile black spots.

"We are here to talk about policy issues national in focus and make sure South Australian voices are heard on these issues," Ms Smith said.

"We want to get the perspective of locals in this community."

Ms Burney said the visit helped to clarify Labor's position on the cashless card, which centred around a desire for community engagement and evidence of change.

"I get the sense there has been a much better consultation process compared to Western Australian sites and the time has been taken to explain and work more closely with community, which did not happen in other places," she said.

"If the community says this is what we want, Labor would support it.

"Labor does believe in certain circumstances where it is warranted, in instances of child neglect and domestic violence issues, but a case management approach is better than a blanket approach."

Ms Burney said the onus was on the government to provide evidence of benefits arising as a result of the card, and for local support and proper consultation.

"It goes back to speaking to the community to see what they want, not taking a national position and imposing it on everybody seeing as local communities and individual," Ms Smith added.

Ms Burney said from what she had heard, there had been instances of the health and wellbeing of children improving, as well as school attendance rates.

She said she would be able to take back to Canberra the feeling that communities want to be part of the decision-making process.