Time and time again we are faced with the same scenario, liberal or labor introduce some punitive measure designed to change behaviors the major parties team up while the greens are on the sidelines making statements against the measures. Select information is given to media but what about the facts they all ignore, who mentions those facts and how often is our media on the end of really informing the general public?
The welfare card trials have been debated on the assistance it is supposed to provide addicts or those caught in bad behavior situations, the greens come out with income management failure stories and the information is limited to these areas. Those who have witnessed first hand what effects drunks or other addictions cause take the simplistic approach that if there was no cash then that would not happen. Others take a more in depth look and suggest the heart of the addiction needs to be addressed first.
Both are in a sense true. Maybe it wouldn't happen for short periods but there is always crafty people who will find ways around it and that information spreads so it will always be short lived. Some people need to reached out to and feel supported to break into new lifestyles others will never change and no amount of restrictions support or help will change that for very long.
What is not being said is how they will manage to achieve these results. How can a banking product be introduced that can pick and choose consumers? How is that in line with consumer laws and protections in place? Will it be a way forward that businesses will pick consumers based on if they are 'working class' only. It could be done by simply stocking an item that is restricted such as prepaid cards. Will discrimination become more widespread and allowed?
Is that mainly due to the fact it is a prepaid card itself but they are masking this fact? Is Australia happy to change our entire social security system to one that mirrors the USA concept of providing social assistance via prepaid cards that can restrict brands or products in large chain supermarket stores. Will every person look towards someone they know with a challenging disability and ask if they deserve to be limited in life due to that disability?
This is not income management in the sense the greens may point out, it is much more than that, income management is the mechanisms of centrelink holding money. The security of conduct being accountable all the way up the chain and onto the floor of Senate or the house. Every aspect or situation is covered in some form of legislation and when push comes to shove, those on income management could have payments made directly into the bank account of any businesses they wished to deal with. Given it would of been a major hassle but the right to do it was there.
I say was because this card will remove that area entirely. A visit to centrelink to reveal your housing costs and other bills cost will set an amount to be directed to these areas. If not via the centrepay system where government charges the biller for the service then it will need to be made via the welfare card.
Any direct payments are taken to of been made from a card and will attract fees that the biller can then charge onto the consumer. Direct debits the most commonly used payment type will be prohibited. The form of payment costing nothing is taken away from those that can least afford the few dollars it costs.
Rent at a cost of $250 per week paid via the card attracting a charge of 2% will increase yearly rent cost by $260. Money that could be used for healthy food.
The rest of the 80% is put onto the card and indue a private organization can then place its own restrictions on where the card can be used. Centrelink effectively wipes its hands of if you can access that money to pay for your living costs and needs. There will be limited information of the sort Indue can pick and choose, with less scrutiny to ensure objectives are achieved.
Will family tax benefits for all soon shift to this sort of card, after all it is also welfare. So to are the allowances, childcare benefits and pensions thousands rely on. Will all money be forced into payment systems that skim a few dollars here and there and consumers allocated rather than have any choices to keep prices low and markets competitive.
Not to mention a prepaid account funds are owned by the issuer until the holder calls on the funds. Social Security has been an inalienable payment to protect people for a long time, this will ignore that fact and issue income support, allowances and the family tax benefits of some to an issuer of a card. If it was placed in to a bank account like the legislation actually does state, it would be owned by the account holder.
I doubt it will be rolled out to major cities as some might gleefully suggest, as the merchant code process and control over store owners is simply not sound enough nor policed in any sense. Getting around the card will be easier if implemented in major city areas. The control will not be there only the fact it is a prepaid card and the pretend benefits of reducing alcohol or the like will not really be possible, will anyone wake up to the whole thing then I wonder?
The bigger implications are being ignored and hard questions thrown off the table, will you start to question the motives and future for our country today or will you too just ignore it until it's too late?
Targeted processes are already in place to deal with individuals situations so why the huge costs of a trial if there is not much more to it?
When it comes to all politicians these days there is ALWAYS more to it.
How many know that in May 2015 basics cards were replaced with stored value cards but funds could be recalled to the income management account. It was the real first step in the welfare card trial and has obviously already been in trial under a varied form. Stored value cards are prepaid cards. Link to instrument : https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015L00781
Ultimate goal appears to be to send income support to private organizations who are paid more to restrict the payments of those on income support than the people who actually need the assistance due to ill health or the jobs pool getting lower and lower every year.
How's that for class war!
Spencer street sebastopol VIC