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Healthy welfare card restricts spending on alcohol, gambling in Australia

Staff writer |
A proposed technologically advanced cashless welfare card will link to recipients' mobile phones and restrict them from spending payments on gambling and alcohol.

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The legislation for the welfare debit card, known as the healthy welfare card, will be introduced into Parliament on Wednesday by parliamentary secretary Alan Tudge, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Welfare recipients will be able to access 80 per cent of their payments on the card. By linking to their phones, it will tell them when their Centrelink payment arrives, what they have spent and if their balance is running low.

Unlike the bright green basics card, which only allows access to 50 per cent of welfare and requires stores to sign up, the cashless welfare card will look like a credit card and will be accepted across Australia.

The card will also be linked to a mobile phone app that will allow users to buy groceries online, and check their balance and transaction history.

"This will be one of the most technologically advanced cards on the market," Tudge said.

The card is scheduled to be trialled in the Ceduna community in South Australia next year for about 10,000 people. Tudge said it offered a "radical" approach to restrict welfare recipients from spending their payments on alcohol, drugs and gambling.

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