Cash­less card ad­vo­cates hold to hope

North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Tay­lar Amonini

Hopes for a cash­less wel­fare card for the Pil­bara are not yet dead in the wa­ter de­spite the Gold­fields tak­ing out the WA trial site, ac­cord­ing to Hed­land’s mayor.

Town of Port Hed­land Mayor Camilo Blanco said al­though he was dis­ap­pointed the Gold­fields was to get the trial, he was still con­fi­dent Hed­land would get an­other shot at the wel­fare pro­gram.

As re­vealed by Seven West Me­dia at the week­end, the highly de­bated cash­less wel­fare card is set to be next rolled out in the Gold­fields, tak­ing in the city of Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der and neigh­bour­ing towns Leonora and Laver­ton.

Mr Blanco said that when he met with Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull ear­lier this month, he was told rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the of­fices of Fed­eral min­is­ters Alan Tudge and Chris­tian Porter would be com­ing to the Pil­bara to do pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the roll­out of the cash­less wel­fare sys­tem.

“He said those port­fo­lios would be here by the end of Septem­ber and I am still hope­ful some­thing is go­ing to hap­pen in Port Hed­land,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously I’m dis­ap­pointed by the news, but af­ter see­ing the ben­e­fits the card has brought to Ku­nunurra and Ce­duna, I’m not about to give up.

“There’s been a lot of work done be­hind the scenes and . . . I’m con­fi­dent that we may have an­other crack at mak­ing some­thing hap­pen in the De­cem­ber . . . re­view.”

The ex­pan­sion of the con­tro­ver­sial pro­gram, which is manda­tory for all work­ing-age peo­ple on in­come sup­port in the trial sites and lim­its spend­ing on al­co­hol and gam­bling, was con­firmed in the May Bud­get.

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