Cashless card advocates hold to hope
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.