Cash­less card trial would hit hun­dreds

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr and Sophia Con­stan­tine

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s cash­less debit card would be dis­trib­uted to more than one in 10 Town of Port Hed­land res­i­dents if it were in­tro­duced to the re­gion.

Fig­ures dis­closed in last week’s Shire of Ash­bur­ton coun­cil meet­ing re­vealed 4461 Pil­bara res­i­dents would have met the trig­gers for the card as of De­cem­ber.

Of those, the Town of Port Hed­land was home to the high­est num­ber of po­ten­tial re­cip­i­ents, with 10.3 per cent (1706 peo­ple) based on 2015 Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates.

The Shire of East Pil­bara came in sec­ond high­est at 7.6 per cent (928 peo­ple), fol­lowed by the City of Kar­ratha with about 6 per cent, or 1525 peo­ple.

Only 302 wel­fare re­cip­i­ents were recorded in the Shire of Ash­bur­ton, or about 3 per cent of its pop­u­la­tion.

Du­rack MHR Melissa Price said she be­lieved the Gold­fields was the lead­ing WA can­di­date for the next trial site.

“How­ever, at present there are only two new trial sites to be funded, and the like­li­hood of WA get­ting both tri­als is un­likely.

“The most sig­nif­i­cantly pro­gressed talks in WA ap­pear to be be­tween the De­part­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices and the eastern Gold­fields com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Kal­go­or­lie, Leonora and Laver­ton, but I re­main hope­ful towns like Port Hed­land or Broome will be successful in their bids,” she said.

Town of Port Hed­land Mayor Camilo Blanco met So­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter Alan Tudge last week to seek fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the card trial and how it might ap­ply in Port Hed­land.

Mr Blanco said the min­is­ter ad­vised if Port Hed­land were to be con­sid­ered, there would need to be strong com­mu­nity sup­port, par­tic­u­larly from Abo­rig­i­nal el­ders. “Port Hed­land is much larger and more di­verse than the cur­rent trial sites, so achiev­ing this broad level of sup­port will re­quire ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion,” he said.

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