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What is the Cashless Debit Card?

A debit card to help build healthy people, families and communities.

The Cashless Debit Card works as an effective tool in helping to minimise the social harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption, illegal drug use, and gambling.

Card holders receive 80% of their welfare benefit on a debit card. The other 20% is deposited into a standard bank account and is available to be withdrawn as cash.

The welfare payment amount remains the same and the Cashless Debit Card only applies to those on working aged benefits, not aged or veteran pensions.

How does it work?

The Cashless Debit Card works just like any other credit or debit card that most Australians would already have.

The Card can be used for everyday purchases at any store. The only change is that many transactions will become electronic and it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products.

Why should we care?

Cash is the currency of the drug trade and gambling industry.

Alcohol abuse, drug taking, and excessive gambling is harmful to individuals and their families. We want our communities to thrive.

The Cashless Debit Card strikes a balance between allowing welfare recipients to make independent decisions about what they wish to buy, and helping to create safe communities.

We know that the Cashless Debit Card plays a critical role as a circuit breaker.

Wave 2 data… indicated that these reductions had been sustained and broadened, with a larger proportion of CDCT participants…...


Who made the Cashless Debit Card animation?

The Cashless Debit Card animation was produced by the Minderoo Foundation and is narrated by a local leader in the East Kimberley. The animation is based on community members’ observations of the positive impacts the Cashless Debit Card has had within the trial sites. We want people in the communities to feel supported in their efforts to change the high levels of daily harm occurring because of excessive alcohol consumption, drug use and gambling.

Who runs and the Minderoo Foundation?

The Minderoo Foundation operates We are a registered charity, originally known as the Australian Children’s Trust, founded by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001. We have no affiliation with Indue or the Government, and we are strictly non-partisan. The Foundation supports the Cashless Debit Card as a means of administering more responsible welfare.

Does limiting cash address drug and alcohol addiction?

The Minderoo Foundation believes that cash can be an enabler of toxic behaviours for some vulnerable people. Its limitation is only one aspect of the solution to overcome drug and alcohol addiction. This is why we advocated for additional support services to be committed across the trial sites. In support of this, the Government invested an extra $1 million dollars for services in Ceduna, and $1.3 million dollars for services in the East Kimberley. One of our focuses continues to be ensuring that these support services are accessible to the people that need them.

Is the Minderoo Foundation advocating for a national roll out of the Cashless Debit Card for all welfare recipients?

No. The current implementation of the Cashless Debit Card works by blocking the entire merchant. In the trial areas the Government has worked to resolve these issues on a case by case basis, for example, by installing an EFTPOS facility in the local Ceduna op-shop. Creating Parity – The Forrest Review recommended a technology that blocked restricted items rather than entire merchants. The Minderoo Foundation believes that this issue needs to be resolved before any national roll-out could be considered. We also believe there are other communities like the trial sites that may want to embrace the existing technology and work with local retailers in the same way.

Why does the Minderoo Foundation believe the Cashless Debit Card should apply to all welfare recipients under the age of eighteen?

We want a welfare system that supports young people to fulfil their potential and we know that our youth in receipt of welfare payments are amongst some of the most vulnerable Australians. The Cashless Debit Card minimises the amount of a minor’s welfare payment that can go towards purchasing alcohol or gambling. It is already illegal for minors to engage in such activities. The Minderoo Foundation believes that young people in receipt of working-aged welfare payments should be supported to make everyday purchases, to save, and to gain long-term employment.

Does the Minderoo Foundation believe that Cashless Debit Card bank accounts should be interest bearing?

Yes. The Minderoo Foundation is calling for the Cashless Debit Card to be offered as a product by all banking institutions. We believe that this will introduce competition into the market and provide choice to consumers.

Will my privacy be affected?

Neither the Government nor Indue can see the items which are being purchased using the Cashless Debit Card. They will also never sell personal information. Please see Indue’s website for their privacy policy.

Is the Cashless Debit Card universally supported in the trial communities?

ORIMA’s Final Evaluation found that community leaders remain committed to the Cashless Debit Card. However, it also found that 32% of participants said that the Cashless Debit Card made their lives worse, while 42% said that it made no difference, and 23% said that it had improved their lives. We acknowledge that the 32% figure is cause for concern but it is important to note that this has reduced from 49% reported during the Interim Evaluation. This strongly indicates that participants are becoming more accepting of the card over time. Furthermore, the three key reasons cited as to why the card is making lives worse include: (1) that participants cannot give cash, (2) that participants do not have enough money, and (3) that the card is a hassle. Minderoo has been actively working to improve the technology behind the card to make it less burdensome on participants.

What’s happened with crime?

Creating Parity – The Forrest Review anticipated a spike in crime which would need to be addressed collaboratively with community leaders and the Police. The Minderoo Foundation takes this data seriously and will continue to work with community groups to ensure the right support services and diversionary agents are available and effective. ORIMA’s Evaluation also indicates that data over the longer term will paint a clearer picture of any potential correlation. Whilst some of the evidence is mixed, there remains strong anecdotal reports from local service providers and community members that indicates less anti-social behaviour within the trial sites.

Does the Cashless Debit Card alter the amount paid?

No. The welfare payment amount stays the same.

Do recipients have access to cash?

Yes. 20% of the welfare benefit is paid into a standard bank account, available for cash withdrawals. Recipients can also apply for a higher percentage of cash if they require it.

Can the Cashless Debit Card pay bills?

Yes. Bills can be paid in person or online.

Are there fees for using the Cashless Debit Card?

No. Like most debit cards, the Cashless Debit Card does not have fees attached. Balances and transaction histories can be checked for free.

Is the Cashless Debit Card only for Indigenous people?

No. The debit card is for all working age welfare recipients, regardless of ethnicity or cultural identity.

Is the Cashless Debit Card like the 'BasicsCard' or another form of income management?

No. Income management is much more restrictive – it involves an intervention by the Department to ensure “priority needs such as rent, bills and food” are paid first before distributing the rest of the payment. Cashless Debit Card users still receive the full payment upfront and are only restricted from purchasing alcohol and gambling products. How an individual manages their payment is at their discretion.

Why do I need the Card if I don’t drink or take drugs or gamble?

There is a correlation between unemployment and other challenges of disadvantage such as substance abuse.  We believe the safety net of welfare in our society exists to support our most vulnerable members and so the conditions of welfare benefits must include measures designed to protect those most at risk.  We understand that there are a myriad of circumstances as to why someone might require welfare benefits and we are not suggesting that all recipients are drug, alcohol and gambling abusers, but a national system that caters for all individual circumstances is simply not possible. If you do not have to manage drug, alcohol or gambling issues, the main change should be that more of your purchases are electronic.

The Minderoo Foundation is aware that there are technological limitations to how the Card is currently working. Specifically, that the Card blocks entire merchants rather than individual items being purchased. We have called on the Government to address this shortfall with the banking and retail sectors. We will continue to advocate for the Card to operate as effectively as possible.

How can I contact INDUE or the Department of Social Services?

You can find more information at the INDUE website or free-call the Cashless Debit Card hotline 1800 710 265 or email

Privacy Policy


The Minderoo Foundation is a not-for-profit initiative that oversees the website. This policy explains how we use, disclose and protect the personal information of people who use our website or otherwise join or support the Cashless Debit Card in the ways described below. The Minderoo Foundation values and respects the privacy of our members.

What information do we collect?

In order to use the Cashless Debit Card site, we may require information from you in order to provide the best service possible. All correspondence, including by email, may also be collected and stored, particularly in regard to donations.

How do we use your personal information?

The Minderoo Foundation collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information where necessary for its operation, including staying in contact with you and letting you know of opportunities to take part in supporting the roll out of the Cashless Debit Card, as well as for any secondary purpose that is reasonably related to this primary purpose. The Minderoo Foundation may also hold, use or disclose your personal information where you have expressly or implicitly consented to the holding, use or disclosure, or where the holding, use or disclosure is authorised or required by law. If the Minderoo Foundation wishes to hold, use or disclose your personal information in other circumstances, we will obtain your prior consent to do so. Further information about this is provided in the remainder of this policy.

When might we give anyone else access to your personal information?

The Minderoo Foundation will not disclose your personal information to any third parties except:

  • to our related companies, but only in exceptional circumstances;
  • to third parties appointed by the Minderoo Foundation, including our contractors, website and data hosting providers, email or SMS providers, technology service providers, advertising partners, campaign partners and other persons who perform services for us – in which case, the Minderoo Foundation uses reasonable steps to ensure such third parties keep your personal information confidential and do not use or disclose your personal information for any purpose other than the purpose of providing those services to us;
  • to our professional advisers, accountants, insurers, lawyers and auditors on a confidential basis;
  • if the Minderoo Foundation or its assets are or may be acquired by a third party, the information may be provided to that third party and its advisors;
  • in exceptional circumstances, the Minderoo Foundation may be required or permitted by law to disclose personal information, for example when it is necessary for something you have requested from us and when necessary to protect someone’s safety, rights or property; or otherwise with your consent.

We do not hand our membership lists over to other groups. From time to time we might let you know about an exciting or important campaign being run by a partner organisation to support the roll out of the Cashless Debit Card. When we do this, the Minderoo Foundation will let you know, and will not hand over member information without consent and without securing a suitable written agreement with the other organisation for the proper use of this information.

The Minderoo Foundation may disclose your personal information to third parties located outside of the country in which your personal information is collected, if it is reasonably necessary for the Minderoo Foundation. The Minderoo Foundation will take reasonable steps to ensure that any foreign recipient protects your personal information in the manner provided in this policy. By providing the Minderoo Foundation with personal information, you consent to us disclosing personal information to a foreign recipient.

How can you stop receiving email from the Minderoo Foundation?

If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from our email list, you may do so by clicking on the unsubscribe link included in each of our emails or by emailing with “unsubscribe” in the subject heading and we will remove your name from our lists. We will act quickly to implement such requests but please note there may be time lags of up to a month to remove names from our database.

Financial transactions

If you make a financial transaction with the Minderoo Foundation, your credit card or other payment information will be used only for this transaction through our secure online payment system. The Minderoo Foundation does not retain payment information without your consent.

How does the Minderoo Foundation keep your information secure?

The Minderoo Foundation endeavours to take all reasonable steps to keep secure any information that we hold about you, and to keep this information accurate and up to date. Your information is transmitted internationally to be stored on secure servers that are protected in controlled facilities. We require our employees and data processors to respect the confidentiality of any personal information.

What technologies do we use to analyse traffic on the Cashless Debit Card website?

Like most websites, we collect basic web traffic information (such as IP addresses) to monitor overall usage of our site. This helps us understand traffic patterns and know if there are problems on the site. Cookie technology is used on several parts of our website. Cookies are pieces of information that a website transfers to a computer, tablet or smartphone to analyse website usage and to facilitate transactions and a more personalised website experience. Most web browsers are set to accept cookies. If you do not wish to receive any cookies you may set your browser to refuse cookies. This may mean you will not be able to take full advantage of all the functions on the Cashless Debit Card website.

Children’s privacy

We do not intend to solicit personally identifying information from children. Visitors who are under 13 years of age should ask their parent or guardian for guidance before they enter any personal information on our website.

Gaining access to your information

If at any time you want to know exactly what personal information the Minderoo Foundation holds about you, you are welcome to request access to your record by e-mailing us at As a standard procedure to protect anybody else gaining access to your personal information, we will ask for some proof of your identity before disclosing this information to you.

Links to other websites

The Cashless Debit Card website contains links to other websites. The Minderoo Foundation is not responsible for the practices or privacy policies of those sites, unless overseen by us.

Future revisions

The Cashless Debit Card website and activities will continue to grow and change. Because of this, from time to time, our privacy policy will be reviewed and revised. Whenever we change our privacy policy we will post an updated version on our website, including the last date of revision. This privacy policy was last revised on 11 April 2017.

Contacting us

If you have any questions about how we handle your personal information and protect your privacy, please feel free to contact us at

The Cashless Debit Card is one of 27 recommendations made in Creating Parity – The Forrest Review.

For more information about Minderoo, please click here.