Cashless Debit Card participants in Bundaberg will be switched to the new SmartCard next month.
The Federal Government is offering the updated income management to locals who have opted in to the program.
Services Australia will now support customers directly to manage their SmartCard, including through a dedicated phone line for managing day-to-day customer queries. In the small number of instances where more complex matters arise, such as suspected fraud, Services Australia will provide extra support.
“Enhanced income management is the product of meaningful and extensive community consultation with First Nations peoples, community members and their leaders, service providers, and other stakeholders,” Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth says.
Volunteers from the Ceduna, East Kimberley, Goldfields, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay regions will transition on 6 March 2023.
The SmartCard will have additional restrictions on card spending – with tobacco purchases not permitted – better user experience, and a connection to Services Australia.
There will be no changes to the quarantined amount of welfare payments, which remain at 50 per cent of an individual’s payments.
Participants will be able to continue using their existing card and online account until they request or are issued their new SmartCard.
Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten says Services Australia looked forward to supporting customers..
“Services Australia staff have been contacting eligible Cashless Debit Card participants over the past few months to give them the choice to either exit the current scheme or volunteer to transition to the new enhanced income management program if they are in Ceduna, East Kimberley, Goldfields, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay regions,” Minister Shorten says.
Minister Rishworth says the consultation process will be ongoing.
“We will continue to work with local communities across Australia to ensure people are supported and informed of the changes, and individual community needs are met,” Minister Rishworth says.
People can use their SmartCard at over one million merchants across Australia, and use BPAY, contactless payments and online shopping. People won’t be able to use their SmartCard to withdraw cash or purchase restricted items including alcohol and tobacco.