Jesuit Social Services considers that the continued expansion of the cashless debit card trials is problematic, and forms part of a suite of concerning policy measures that undermine the dignity and personal agency of people experiencing multiple forms of disadvantage.

In the Northern Territory, compulsory income management was introduced as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, or the Intervention, in 2007. The cashless debit card trial is seemingly being applied in the Northern Territory in a similar vein – as a compulsory measure imposed on communities by the Federal Government without adequate consultation.

In our submission, we argue that the cashless debit card trials continue to be expanded without clear evidence that they are achieving what they purport to; without genuine consultation with communities; and without regard to the growing evidence illustrating that life on the card has been made tougher for those using it.

As a society, we should be listening to and supporting people who are struggling, not implementing measures imposed on a mandatory basis with little regard to individual circumstances.

Read our submission to the inquiry here.