PM Anthony Albanese dismisses calls for return to cashless debit card

Peter Dutton's noticeable absence is not a good sign for the NSW government, says Anthony Albanese.

Peter Dutton's noticeable absence is not a good sign for the NSW government, says Anthony Albanese. Photo: AAP

Reinstating the cashless debit card in remote communities would do little to address anti-social behaviour, Anthony Albanese says.

The Prime Minister has faced calls to bring back the compulsory income management scheme during a trip to Western Australia, where communities including Laverton and Leonora in the Goldfields are dealing with a spike in youth crime.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton is expected to visit the towns this week, claiming “rivers of grog” are flowing into regional communities.

Mr Albanese on Monday dismissed the criticism, saying the voluntary SmartCard income management program provided greater support for those needing assistance.

“When we’re dealing with issues in some of these communities, we’re dealing with intergenerational issues,” he told reporters in Perth.

“(Issues) that can’t be solved in a day or a week, ones that require governments that work together with the community to listen and respond.

“I’m certainly committed to doing that and so is my government.”

Premier Mark McGowan has declined to say whether he backs the decision to end the scheme, describing it as a federal matter.

The Prime Minister said he worked closely across a range of issues with the WA Labor government.

Mr McGowan has flagged the likely introduction of alcohol restrictions in the tourist town of Carnarvon to address growing anti-social behaviour.

Additional police have been sent to the northern coastal town in WA’s Gascoyne region, where businesses have been burgled and a police vehicle was allegedly rammed by a stolen car last month.

A newly formed local liquor accord, comprised of licensed business owners, police and government representatives, has been considering what measures could be introduced to reduce alcohol-related harm.

The premier said stakeholders had failed to reach a consensus, leaving the state government with no choice but to intervene.

“The efforts that have been gone to, to get the local liquor suppliers to agree to restrictions, have really not come up with anything significant over a long period of time,” he said.

“It’s time the state government actually looked seriously at what we can do in Carnarvon.”

He noted Carnarvon, unlike other regional communities further north, had lacked “any real restrictions or any rules” around the sale and purchase of alcohol.

The premier visited the town last week, meeting local business owners and community leaders.

Coral Coast Veterinary Hospital owner Emma Barrett said her practice was one of several Carnarvon businesses broken into on Sunday night.

Backing a return to the cashless debit program, she said there had been more than a dozen break-ins at her business during the past 12 months.

“The powers that be need to come into Carnarvon themselves … it’s a great town but the anti-social behaviour is really holding us back at the moment,” she told AAP.

WA Police has been contacted for comment about the break-ins.

Mr Albanese visited Kalgoorlie earlier on Monday as part of a two-day visit to WA that also includes a cabinet meeting in Port Hedland. He will host a fundraiser in Perth on Monday night.


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.