The controversial cashless welfare card is being rolled out to new regions across Australia. Communities suffering high unemployment are particularly being targeted for the trials.
Basically, the card quarantines 80% of people’s welfare payments, only allowing this money to be spent on basic items. It is not possible to withdraw money with the card or to use it to purchase alcohol or to gamble.
Politicians claim that this will reduce so-called “welfare dependency” and force people to spend their money more wisely. In reality, most people on welfare are used to desperately managing tight budgets and routinely foregoing luxuries.
The truth is that these measures won’t be of any benefit to those struggling to find a job. The biggest problem is that there are simply not enough jobs to go around. For every 19 people looking for work there is but one job available.
The other claim is that these measures will help those with drug and alcohol addictions. But quarantining welfare payments from people with addictions will simply force them to find the money elsewhere. What people with addictions need is not punitive measures, but proper support and well-funded services.
One of the main motivations behind the cashless welfare card is simply to make welfare intolerable for many people, and boost the budget through savings. Employers support this as they hope the money saved can be used to lower their tax rates. But there are also other benefits for employers.
One of the biggest backers of the card is the mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest. He supports the card as he hopes it will force people into accepting lower paid jobs, therefore driving down wages and conditions across the board. This would result in a boost to his profits.
Socialists oppose punitive measures like cashless welfare and instead demand that we increase taxes on big business and the likes of Twiggy Forrest. We could then use these funds to drive investment in jobs, services and proper welfare payments for those who need it.
By Corey Snoek