Q and A: Every question we had about the cashless card
IN LIGHT of Parliament this week passing the Bill that will extend the controversial cashless card to the Hinkler electorate, the NewsMail sent a number of in-depth questions to the Department of Social Services, in an effort to gain some clarity on the trial and how it will affect Bundaberg.
On Tuesday, the amended Cashless Card Bill was passed in a tight, 33-32 vote in the Senate.
But the Coalition government's win had a flow-on effect that was two-fold, with supporters of the Bill celebrating the hope the card's roll-out represented for the region while opponents of the trial were left bitterly disappointed.
Q. Is the card going to have a negative effect on those trial participants who have to travel to and from places like Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast for medical treatments?
A: The Cashless Debit Card will work at businesses that accept Eftpos nationwide including hotels, restaurants, doctors and specialists.
The card will not work at businesses that primarily sell takeaway alcohol or gambling products. The Department of Social Services and the card provider will work with participants to ensure that they are able to access services they need.
Q: Are all businesses automatically signed up to accept payments from the card or do they have to opt to sign up?
All businesses who accept Visa or Eftpos cards will automatically be able to accept the cashless card unless they sell alcohol or gambling products. Provided it's not its main activity, a business that does sell alcohol or gambling products may still be able to accept the card, however, before doing so it must complete a merchant application form which will be assessed by Indue in consultation with the Department of Social Services. As part of the application process the business will need to demonstrate that it has adequate procedures in place to ensure it doesn't sell alcohol or gambling products to a card-holder.
Q: Can the department confirm where and how many businesses have been banned from accepting the card? Are there any merchants in Hinkler banned?
A: Businesses that only sell restricted goods will be automatically blocked and will be unable to accept the card, for example a liquor store. A list of blocked and excluded businesses can be found at indue.com.au/dct/merchants/excluded/.
Merchants who have been blocked from accepting the Cashless Debit Card have either opted to be blocked or have had a terminal blocked from accepting the Cashless Debit Card (e.g. a hotel that has terminals unblocked to accept food or accommodation payments, but the card does not work at the bar terminal). Bundaberg and Hervey Bay specific businesses will be published online when the card is implemented.
Q: Does gambling include instant scratch tickets and lotto?
A: The Cashless Debit Card cannot be used to purchase gambling products or services as defined under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, such as poker machines or online betting. Scratchies and lottery tickets are able to be purchased using the card.
Q: What happens when card holders turn 36? And if you live in Hinkler and then move, what happens?
A: If a person is turning 36 years old within 12 months of the date of the trial's commencement, they will not be placed on the card. Participants will exit the program when they exceed the age limit or no longer receive a welfare payment. Once a person is on the program, they remain so as long as they continue to meet the payment and age criteria, even if they move to another area.
Q: Do people have the option of having duplicate cards in case they lose their card on the weekend?
A: Participants will receive one Cashless Debit Card. If a participant loses their card they can obtain a replacement card at no additional cost from the card provider.
Temporary replacement cards will be available at select businesses in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region. Temporary replacements cards can generally be provided on the same day.
Q: How is the card being rolled out? Is it mailed ou? Do people have to activate it?
A: The Cashless Debit Card will be rolled out across the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region from early 2019.
Centrelink will notify each participant receiving a Cashless Debit Card via mail. Once a participant has received their Cashless Debit Card they must activate it before they can use it. Activation instructions and additional support information will also be provided to participants via mail.