The comment article "We must not allow this social apartheid" (by Zoe Wundenberg, February 5, 2019) says the cashless debit card roll out in Bundaberg-Hervey Bay includes people on disability support. In the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, the cashless debit card applies to people aged 35 years and under who receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (Job seeker), Parenting Payment (Single) or Parenting Payment (Partnered). It does not apply to people on disability support.
The article says that the card has been “coloured as a government response to minimising ‘social harm’ through attempting to limit the purchase of alcohol, tobacco and gambling services”. This is also incorrect. The cashless debit card can be used to purchase tobacco but cannot be used to buy alcohol, gambling products or some gift cards.
Lastly, your report says there is “no evidence” of the card in addressing “social harm”.
An independent evaluation of the cashless debit card trial in the Ceduna region, South Australia, and the East Kimberley region, Western Australia, show the card was having a “considerable positive impact”. Of participants surveyed, the evaluation found: 41 per cent of participants who drank alcohol reported drinking less frequently; 48 per cent of participants who used drugs reported using drugs less frequently; and 48 per cent of those who gambled before the trial reported gambling less often.
Anecdotal evidence shows that people are better able to save money; parents have more money available to buy essential family items like nappies, food and clothing; police report fewer domestic violence callouts and health workers report fewer domestic violence presentations; and people say their town feels quieter and safer with less public drunkenness.
Department of Social Services
DIGGING A DEEP HOLE
In responding to the Banking Royal Commission NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn said that he found the final report, "upsetting," "hard to read" and "harsh."
He went on to say on the ABC that, while he respected the commissioner’s view he didn’t share it, because he felt that he was making decisions, that ‘proved’ the NAB wanted rebuild trust with customers.
Surprisingly he continued digging the hole deeper by saying, "I feel that the way he’s describing me is the polar opposite of what I want to be and what I am, and the sort of change I’m leading inside the company."
These are just words from someone who opposed the Royal Commission from the beginning. And is this even his call to make? Surely, Mr Thorburn must wait for the judgement of NAB customers before making such statement.
Perhaps, Mr Thorburn should be ‘perusing external career opportunities’ (the new corporate double speak for getting the sack).
Dr Rob Goodfellow, Wollongong
A TAXING ISSUE
Not everyone who gets tax credits on franking credits is a wealthy retiree. We have a small amount of shares from which we get a small amount of return. The end of the year refund is not much but a welcome addition to our pension. I won't be voting labour .
Mary Reynolds, Dapto