Federal Member for Newcastle has warned that vulnerable Novocastrians could find themselves caught up in the Morrison Government’s plan to extend the cashless welfare card system.

Ms Claydon said while the trial rollouts have largely targeted First Nations people, the Government’s plan to extend the cashless welfare card, making it permanent and mandatory, could capture all Australians on income support payments.

In a speech to Parliament, Ms Claydon accused the Morrison Government of “punishing people for their disadvantage” through the introduction of a mandatory income management regime.

“Let's not sugar-coat this: The cashless debit card will capture all those marginalised and disadvantaged people and tie them up into an income management regime where there is no apparent pathway for escape, no means of breaking the cycle of poverty and no way to regain agency,” Ms Claydon told the Parliament.

“It will take away their capacity to make decisions about very fundamental aspects of our lives such as how they choose to spend their money. And, in doing so, it will remove autonomy, it will disempower them and instil fear, shame and stigma.”

Ms Claydon said the scheme would make it harder to find stability and move away from income management.

“This is the laziest form of public policymaking. It won't provide any of the necessary wraparound services that are required in order to meet the very real challenges people face,” Ms Claydon said.

“This is not how you remedy poverty. Indeed, it's how you entrench disadvantage even further.”

Ms Claydon called on the government to reconsider the plan.

“This is just plain cruel, punitive and ideological, not to mention ridiculously short sighted.

“The government needs to abandon this plan and, instead, invest in evidence based policies, job creation and much-needed community services.”

The Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Continuation of Cashless Welfare) Bill 2020 is currently before the Senate.

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