Nationals WA Member of Parliament Paul Brown MP, is calling on Federal Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge to remove Geraldton from consideration as a trial site for the Cashless Welfare Card.
I was initially happy to consider the benefits of implementation of a trial and the investment in community services that it might have delivered,” Mr Brown said.
“However, I have been speaking and listening to many advocacy groups from across the Geraldton community. The overwhelming opinion has been that the welfare card is not welcome. There is a feeling that the federal government has not done enough to convince our community of its merits.”
Trial sites in Ceduna, South Australia and in the East Kimberley have already been established by the federal government. Significant investment into these communities has been delivered by the federal government with Ceduna ($1mill) and East Kimberley ($1.7mill) each seeing social, rehabilitation and mental health services being expanded.
“The Geraldton community obviously faces a range of recognised issues such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction and a lack of resources in rehabilitation services,” Mr Brown said.
“As a state government representative of Geraldton I was hopeful that the Human Services Minister would seek to partner with the community and the state government to invest in the services needed to make the trial a success.”
“Unfortunately that has not been the case and I believe there is a lack of understanding at the federal level about the growing concerns of the community, and a lack of commitment to invest in the services that would be impacted if the trial went ahead,” Mr Brown said.
Nationals WA Federal Senate candidate Kado Muir supports Mr Brown’s stance.
“Initially, I too was very supportive of the Cashless Welfare card but after consideration of the potential impact, I feel it is far too early for Geraldton to be a trial site. The Cashless Welfare Card focuses on some of the most vulnerable members of our community and we really need to be sure that we have fully funded and resourced wrap around services to ensure they are supported if things go wrong.” Senate candidate Muir said.