Senate inquiry exposes Labor’s plan to expand compulsory income management

Australian Greens

Today, the Community Affairs Legislative Committee held a hearing into Labor’s proposed Income Management Reform Bill, which essentially reintroduces a Cashless Debit Card 2.0 and further entrenches compulsory income management.

The SmartCard is provided by the same company, Indue, who ran the Cashless Debit Card scheme, and is effectively the Cashless Debit Card by another name.

Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for Social Services, said:

“The Labor party has yet again betrayed people on income support with this Cashless Debit Card 2.0.

“Labor pledged to end compulsory income management in opposition. Now they’re in government, Labor’s proposed SmartCard is just the Cashless Debit Card with a different name and colour.

“If anyone thinks that Labor’s SmartCard Bill is only about improving technology, this hearing would have quickly disabused them of that notion.

“This bill goes far beyond technology; it introduces a sneaky and insidious framework that will significantly expand the Minister’s power to roll out compulsory income management in new areas, despite Labor’s campaign against CDC in opposition.

“If this bill passes the Senate in its current form, Labor will be going further than the Liberals did in allowing the expansion of the racist and entirely ineffective compulsory income management system.

“There’s no evidence that compulsory income management works, and we’ve heard from witness after witness today that this racist, paternalistic policy framework only does damage to individuals and communities, especially to First Nations people.

“The SmartCard bill doesn’t even contain a sunset clause like the CDC legislation did. Labor campaigned to end compulsory income management, yet this bill will entrench it.

/Public Release. View in full here.