Ideology and Health Outcomes

Comment: If you subscribe to the idea (I do not) that most welfare recipients use the money the government provides on drugs and pornography and neglect basic needs then utilising a cash card that restricts what can be brought with them might seem a logical decision. Indeed this appears to have driven an Australian Federal Government decision – despite objections on a lack of evidence and moral grounds. The research is in and NO the approach did not achieve the desired outcomes – although to be fair it may have assisted some individual families. Why do I consider this an ideological issue – because despite the evidence I doubt the current government will alter the scheme.

The cashless debit card has had “no substantive impact” on crime, gambling and drug and alcohol abuse in one of the trial sites the government wants to make permanent, according to a new study.

Aimed at reducing social harms in areas with high welfare rates, the scheme quarantines 80% of a person’s payments onto a card that cannot be used to withdraw cash and blocks alcohol and gambling transactions. The card has been predominantly trialled in areas with high Indigenous populations.

In what is the latest independent study to cast doubt on the scheme, four researchers from the University of South Australia and Monash University obtained and examined administrative data from Ceduna, South Australia, where the card has been running since 2016.

Link to original The Guardian article