Others better prepared’ for cashless card

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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Port Hedland could still be a trial area for a cashless welfare card after Tuesday's budget announcement, but Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price warned other areas were further ahead in the process.

Two new communities are set to host trials of the Federal Government’s cashless welfare card after the Budget papers confirmed an expansion of the program.

The Government is yet to reveal which new locations will host the trial, however, the locations are expected to be announced September 1.

Ms Price, said while the Government had not yet made a decision on the locations, the Goldfields was a more likely location than Hedland.

“The Federal Government will choose the most organized regional communities, who have indicated they would like the program rolled out in their town,” she said.

“I want to assure people that just because those two sites may not be Port Hedland or anywhere else in the Pilbara, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of it and I’ve certainly had that commitment from the ministers as well.

“There are many other sites that are much further advanced than Port Hedland is, for example places in the Goldfields, like Leonora and Laverton, have already done their community consultation, a lot of engagement with indigenous communities and indigenous leaders.”

During a visit to Port Hedland in the run up to the March State election, Ms Price said she was actively beginning the pre-trial consultations to ensure a trial of the card could begin sooner in the Pilbara.

Town of Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco said he is still hopeful for a cashless welfare card to come to the Pilbara.

“Clearly it would mean for the same sort of outcomes as Ceduna and the Kimberley, we’re seeing significant reductions in antisocial issues and increases in food purchases and it’s a great outcomes all round,” he said.

“The Mayor of Ceduna said it was the greatest thing to happen to the town and that’s clearly something we want for Port Hedland.

“The Town can't fight this fight alone - we need support from the State, Federal Government and the community.”

The Budget also revealed a plan to extend the card trials in the Kimberley and Ceduna until June 2018.

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