Is Income Management coming to your town? The answer is yes, the question is when...By Jason Bryce | 10 July 2015
The government has revealed the first handful of trial communities for the new Healthy Welfare income management Centrelink debit cards. The government has previously said the new income management branded Visa payment cards will be rolled out across Australia, not just in remote indigenous communities, where the Basics Card income management scheme has become the norm.
All Parenting Payment - Single or Partnered - and all Newstart recipients living in the trial areas are likely to be included in the trials, including people who have no history of alcohol, drug, gambling or budgeting problems. Family Tax Benefits are likely to be included as income managed payments.
Western Australian Kimberley region towns Kununurra and Halls Creek have reportedly been chosen to spearhead the new policy.
The small town of Moree in the north west of New South Wales and Ceduna on the west coast of South Australia are the other two towns that have so far been identified
Suburban areas where the Basics Card is already standard could be priority areas for the Healthy Welfare trials. They include Bankstown in Sydney, Logan and Rockhampton in Queensland, the north Adelaide suburb of Playford and Shepparton in central Victoria. However, no further announcements have been made.
Liberal MP Alan Tudge is Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and has previously said regional and urban areas are in the mix for Healthy Welfare card trials.
Alan Tudge is meeting with Department of Human Services executives and community leaders around Australia to scope out trial sites.
Recently Alan Tudge said on radio that responsible parents will also be income managed, along with people who have drinking, drug or gambling problems within the trial sites.
Tudge described the new card as a Visa debit card that can be used "on anything, anywhere except alcohol or gambling." And very limited cash withdrawals.
Perhaps the good news is that Alan Tudge has also said he can't envisage the rollout of Healthy Welfare card covering all of Australia in the foreseeable future.
This week Alan Tudge visited outback South Australia for at least the second time in recent weeks, so that might indicate where other early trial sites may lie.
Business & Finance Journalist
Jason is a business and finance journalist with 20 years experience, and is also a member of the SingleMum.com.au Expert Opinion Panel. He has a regular weekly column in the Sunday Mail (Brisbane) and writes regularly for the Business Daily section of the Herald Sun in Melbourne and many other newspapers and magazines.
Jason's personal website is www.centrelinknews.com.au
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