Drinking their welfare payments rather than spending it on other needs is common among blacks so the Feds are instituting a type of food stamps program in an attempt to change that. Unlikely that it will change much -- but the do-gooder idea of more jobs for social workers would certainly change nothing at all. But trying to get blacks to behave like middle-class whites is pissing into the wind anyway. I used to run a boarding house in a bottom-rung area (Ipswich) and few of my tenants worked. I noted that lots of whites there had a big piss-up on the welfare "payday", only to be left scratching for the rest of the fortnight. I made a point of putting my hand out for rent every "payday". I guess the government is trying to do something similar
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) says the Rudd Government's proposed welfare debit card is not the best way to help struggling families. The Federal Government has confirmed a new electronic national welfare card will be included in next week's Budget. The debit card will contain a portion of a family's welfare payment which can only be spent on necessities like food and clothing.
Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says the card will be issued from July in certain Northern Territory Aboriginal communities and will eventually be used for some non-Indigenous welfare recipients across Australia. The scheme is an attempt to encourage people to spend their welfare payments on food and clothing, rather than on drugs and alcohol.
But ACOSS President Lyn Hatfield Dodds says the card will not work. "ACOSS doesn't believe that quarantining payments is the best way forward," she said. "We would prefer to see Government investing in the supports and services that families need. "Quarantining at best will keep those families in a holding pattern, but it will not build their capacity or capability to make different choices and move out of crisis. "It is really an issue where there are families with low parenting capacity - families with histories of alcohol and drug abuse and gambling addiction," she added.
Opposition families spokesman Tony Abbott says the card will not work because it will become an administrative nightmare. Mr Abbott says the problem will be getting the states to hand over private information about which children are at risk, and therefore which parents should be targeted. "I think they could end up spending hundreds of millions of dollars on this new card technology and find that it is essentially redundant because the states won't give them the information," he said. "A much better system would be for an across the board quarantine of, say, 50 per cent of these payments."
But Minister for Human Services Joe Ludwig says the new scheme will help businesses as well as families. Senator Ludwig says the previous NT store card system excluded small businesses from taking part in the scheme. "It does help local business, it helps them participate in the income management scheme, it will increase the competition and it'll also give families greater choice," he said. "We really need to start dealing with all those issues in a very thoughtful, serious, respectful way, to come alongside families and help them move out of crisis."
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