Federal goal for cashless card welfare recipients to ‘stabilise their lives’

By Melissa Coade

Thursday October 7, 2021

Anne Ruston
Families and social services minister Anne Ruston. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Families and social services minister Anne Ruston has underscored values of self-reliance and empowerment as the basis of cashless debit card program for vulnerable and disadvantaged people. 

In a statement issued on Wednesday with Liberal senator Matt O’Sullivan, Ruston said the first stage of the government’s Job Ready Package would be delivered via local support services which the government is offering competitive grants for. 

Ruston added that the successful support services would connect people who receive government welfare via a cashless debit card by connecting them with employment opportunities and ‘improving their financial management skills’.

“The Morrison government is committed to helping cashless debit card participants to upskill, become job ready and get on pathways to employment,” Ruston said. 

“It will also support participants in the NT to boost financial and digital-literacy skills, gain control of their finances and be on pathways to self-reliance, empowerment and employment.” 

The grants aim to use ‘community-driven solutions’ to strengthen economic participation in six locations where the cashless welfare card program operates across South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The federal grant opportunity will be administered by the Community Grants Hub on behalf of the Department of Social Services. 

In the NT, the grants that the government will consider include basic financial literacy, digital literacy skills for cashless card participants. Grants for community champions and capability investments to strengthen service delivery will also be considered. 

For the other four states, canvassing the communities of Ceduna, East Kimberly, the Goldfields, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, grants will be awarded to uplift and upskill cashless card participants to be job ready. Money will also be granted for service system navigation projects, supporting employers to improve recruitment and retention of participants, and increase employment opportunities in those regions.

O’Sullivan said the grants were being offered in response to community consultation, which showed there was a clear need to facilitate better engagement between employers and participants in the cashless debit card program.

“This grant opportunity can help support both employers and CDC participants to improve recruitment and retention of CDC participants in employment,” O’Sullivan said.

“It can also be used to boost services to help participants navigate the system as well as build their skill base to ensure they are job ready.”

The government is inviting applications for its cashless debit card support services grants, closing on 25 October


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