One of the most critical recommendations from the Creating Parity Review is the Healthy Welfare Card (HWC). This card would see all vulnerable welfare recipients living in a cash-free world.
The card would allow for the purchase of anything, anywhere but would not allow for the purchase of alcohol, gift cards, gambling facility and the withdrawal of cash.
With mixed chorus of supporters and critics, I decided to attempt to live through the month of November and document the trials and tribulations of living a cashless lifestyle.
No Cash November.
I certainly do not want to make light of living on welfare or in vulnerable circumstances. These are hardships some of my extended family and many others across the country live with each and every day.
I am approaching this journey with complete respect for all vulnerable Australians with the intention of learning the process and possibilities of a cash free life.
This is a personal pledge to live through the whole month without the use of cash, relying on my card for all living expenses. It is also an initiative that when aired amongst the wider Minderoo team as well as Fortescue Metals Group on an opt-in basis was supported widely.
With the advancement of technology, the transition to a cash free lifestyle is already well and truly underway across Australia.
But what is it really like living without the use of cash? What are some of the battles one would face? I hope that over the course of the month I can document the successes and challenges this HWC would bring.
I am not a welfare recipient nor do I face the challenges of living cash free in a regional or remote location. However, I am the father of four school aged children and travel across the country on a weekly basis. I am used to having disposable cash available to me.
The HWC recommendation would be introduced to protect vulnerable welfare recipients. It would ensure benefits would be available for individuals and families that need it while protecting those families where alcohol, gambling and drug use can dictate quality of life.
Already three days into this lifestyle, I have seen some challenges arise. Try explaining to a two year old that she can’t go on one of those annoying toy car rides at the local shopping centre because Dad no longer has money.
But there have been benefits too. One of my favourite pastimes is going to Bunning’s on the weekend and grabbing a few snags at the sausage sizzle out front. This weekend, I was forced to make the healthy choice and buy a salad roll from the deli nearby that accepted my card.
This November, I will write weekly updates with honest accounts of both the benefits and challenges faced living in a cashless society. I invite you to join me, the Minderoo Foundation and Fortescue Metals Group in also taking up this challenge.
You can do so here: www.nocashnovember.com.au