‘Considerable positive impact’ from cashless debit card use
The Comment article "We must not allow this social apartheid" (by Zoe Wundenberg, February 5, 2019) says the cashless debit card roll out in Bundaberg-Hervey Bay includes people on disability support. In the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, the cashless debit card applies to people aged 35 years and under who receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (Job seeker), Parenting Payment (Single) or Parenting Payment (Partnered). It does not apply to people on disability support.
The article says that the card has been “coloured as a government response to minimising ‘social harm’ through attempting to limit the purchase of alcohol, tobacco and gambling services”. This is also incorrect. The cashless debit card can be used to purchase tobacco but cannot be used to buy alcohol, gambling products or some gift cards.
Lastly, your report says there is “no evidence” of the card in addressing “social harm”. An independent evaluation of the cashless debit card trial in the Ceduna region, South Australia, and the East Kimberley region, Western Australia, show the card was having a “considerable positive impact”. Of participants surveyed, the evaluation found: 41 per cent of participants who drank alcohol reported drinking less frequently; 48 per cent of participants who used drugs reported using drugs less frequently; and 48 per cent of those who gambled before the trial reported gambling less often.
Anecdotal evidence shows that people are better able to save money; parents have more money available to buy essential family items like nappies, food and clothing; police report fewer domestic violence callouts and health workers report fewer domestic violence presentations; and people say their town feels quieter and safer with less public drunkenness.
Department of Social Services
World harmony week
World Interfaith Harmony Week is celebrated annually during the first week of February and aims to promote harmony between all people, regardless of their faith and non-faith. It is an opportunity for all people to recognise their common values and work alongside one another to bring peace and harmony to their communities.
The concept of World Harmony Week was adopted by the United Nations in 2010, following a proposal by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan. It is based on the work of The Common Word initiative, which called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments: Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour. World Interfaith Harmony Week extends the Two Commandments by adding ‘Love of the Good, and Love of the Neighbour’. This formula includes all people of goodwill and includes those of other faiths, and those with no faith.
Judith Causon, Quarry Hill
Napier St cyclists
Thursday 10am, I saw 2 middle aged lycra clad gentlemen cycling into Bendigo. Amazingly through the Napier St roadworks, ignoring a much safer alternate route in Bobs St one block away. All road users have a duty of care to others. These 2 also have a duty of care, not the least of which is to themselves. What were they thinking?
Gary Day, Echuca
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