This week’s program focuses on a number of inter-linked issues. We talk about the Cashless Debit Card that is being trialled in communities around the Ceduna area and in the communities of Kununurra and Wyndham in Western Australia. We also talk about the recent Federal Budget announcements and how these affect people on the Disability Support Pension and on Newstart, and we find out about changes to the funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (the NDIS) and how the Scheme is being rolled-out on the APY Lands.
The Cashless Debit Card was introduced by the Federal Government’s Department of Social Services and reduces the amount of cash available to people. 80% of people’s welfare payments are paid into a debit card account that doesn’t allow cash withdrawals and cannot be used for alcohol or gambling. People on the Card can only access 20% of their income benefits in the form of cash.
There has been a blanket approach to the implementation of the Card. Except for people who receive the Age Pension or Veterans’ payment, everyone who gets income support has to be on the Card. The trial includes everyone who receives the Disability Support Pension (DSP).
In the 2017 Federal Budget, the Federal Treasurer announced that the Trial of the Cashless Card will be extended to two more locations, starting on 1st September. We don’t yet know which locations have been identified.
The recent 2017 Federal Budget includes proposed changes to whether people can receive the Disability Support Pension, particularly in relation to substance misuse. The Treasurer is proposing that disability pensions will be cancelled for people whose medical conditions are ‘caused solely by their own substance abuse’.
The Federal Budget also sets out a demerit point system for Newstart recipients. We find out how this might affect people on Newstart who have a diagnosed disability.
The Treasurer also announced that there will be full funding for the NDIS into the future, through an increase in the Medicare levy.
We consider the roll-out of the NDIS on the APY Lands and whether Anangu who have had an NDIS ‘first plan’ worked out are able to access the services that they need.
To find out more, we talk with Dignity Party MLC, Kelly Vincent, who is a Member of the Legislative Council of the South Australian Parliament.