• Matt O'Sullivan. (The Point)Source: The Point
The decision to roll out the cashless welfare card across Australia will depend on whether the community benefited versus what it wants, says Matt O'Sullivan, who's contesting the federal seat of Burt in the 2016 election.
The Point
27 Apr 2016 - 9:22 PM  UPDATED 27 Apr 2016 - 11:04 PM

"If the Ceduna trial does go well it will have to be judged on what the community got out of it versus what it actually wants," Matt O'Sullivan, who was pre-selected by the Liberal party for the new seat of Burt over the Anzac weekend, told 'The Point'.

Ceduna in South Australia and Kununurra in remote Western Australia are two communities that are currently trialling the federal government's cashless welfare card scheme.

On the ground in Ceduna on day one of the Healthy Welfare Card trial
There are mixed reactions to the strategy designed to curb the high levels of alcoholism and violence in the South Australian town of Ceduna. The Point's Danny Teece-Johnson speaks to locals to gauge the mood of the town.
Back cashless welfare card, senators told
Indigenous leaders from a remote town in South Australia are in Canberra to convince Labor and crossbench senators to support the trial of a cashless welfare card.

The scheme dictates that 80 per cent of a welfare recipient's payment is put on the card, which only works in certain stores, to discourage money being spent on alcohol or gambling.

"We would have to examine, did the rates of alcohol violence drop, are things with the card actually working?" he says.

"Now if it is working, it is entirely possible that other communities may want the same thing, and there’s no reason that some of these things can’t go to the cities and their suburbs, especially if they are wanted." 

Halls Creek rejects Healthy Welfare Card
A community in the Kimberley region has refused the federal government's plan to trial its Healthy Welfare Card.

Mr O'Sullivan added that the government's Forrest Review, which was conducted with the aim to improve the outlook of Indigenous Australians, has shown that programs like the welfare card are more effective when they are rolled out in vulnerable areas "rather than simply putting into place things in a generalised sweeping form."

But he reiterated it was too soon to decide on the future of the welfare card. "We need to see how the Ceduna trial goes," he says.

"We’ll just have to wait and see what comes of the trial."