– What is it? –
The Healthy Welfare Card is a Coalition Government policy that will forcibly restrict 80% of unemployed Australian’s Newstart entitlement to a VISA-style debit card. Under the pretext of preventing unemployed workers from buying alcohol and drugs, the card can only be used at approved Government locations.
The Healthy Welfare Card card is a much tougher version of the punitive and completely discredited Basics Card, which restricts 50% of unemployed Australian’s Newstart entitlement.
Currently, the Basics Card affects more than 20,000 people (most indigenous) across Australia. These locations include large parts of the Northern Terriroty, Playford (SA), Shepparton (VIC), Logan (QLD), Rockhamption (QLD) and Bankstown (NSW).
While it has not been revealed how much the Healthy Welfare Card wil cost, the Basics Card cost the Government $7,700 per person – more than half of the yearly income of an unemployed worker!
– Why we are against this card –
The Healthy Welfare Card is an attack on the rights and dignity of all unemployed people. It is a shameless attempt by the Coalition Government to present unemployed workers money management skills as the main problem.
This is a clear tactic to distract people from the Government’s systematic failure to ensure unemployed workers have adequete income support. Currently, the Newstart benefit is $390 below the poverty line per fortnight.
The Healthy Welfare Card is also an attempt to distract people from the Government’s failure to create enough jobs. According to Government own statistics, in Australia there are 11 job seekers per job vacancy. This dire situation has made the average duration of unemployment more than 4 years!
And the Government has the nerve to blame unemployed workers for the fact that they are living in entrenched poverty and develop substance abuse problems!
We already know from a number of reports that Income Management does nothing to prevent alcohol and drug addiction. The Government has even admitted that this card can be used to buy alcohol in certain situations.
It is clear then that the Government is using the Healthy Welfare Card as yet another way to attack and villify unemployed Australians.
– Who has been pushing for the Healthy Welfare Card? –
The Healthy Welfare Card was proposed by billionaire mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest in his 2014 review into Indigenous Employment. Under his initial proposal, Forrest demanded the card be 100% cashless.
Both the Coalition and the Labor party supported the billionaire’s Healthy Welfare Card and it passed the Senate 37 votes to 10 on 14 October 2015.
The fact that this card was proposed by a billionaire is a complete slap in the face of Australian democracy.
– What are the plans for the Healthy Welfare Card? –
The Coalition Government has made statements indicating that it is planning is to roll out the Healthy Welfare Card across all regional communities in Australia – affecting roughly 100,000 unemployed Australians.
– What can we do to fight against the Healthy Welfare Card –
As this card is currently entering its trail phase, there is a lot of room for resistance. Ceduna are already well-organised against the Healthy Welfare Card and it is imperative that all defenders of dignity and justice for unemployed join them in this struggle.
It is important to oppose not just the Healthy Welfare Card, but all punitive income management programs that the Government is currently imposing on the unemployed.
Beginning with this national day of action, we will start an ongoing campaign against this card by conducting rolling protests outside centrelinks and politicians offices across Australia. Join us and help fight for the rights and dignity of the unemployed!
The AUWU encourages everyone to call, email and pester the Minister responsible for this card – Alan Tudge. His number is (03) 9887 3890 and his email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ceduna Page: https://www.facebook.com/
National event: https://www.facebook.com/
Sydney event: https://www.facebook.com/