Cashless Debit Card and Settler Economies



This project examines the Cashless Debit Card trial in the East Kimberley, Western Australia. The Card targets First Nations people disproportionately where 82% in the East Kimberley trial are First Nations. Like other income management programs, the Card aims to restrict cash and purchases to curb alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling. The current study reviews the Cashless Debit Card in the context of current policies managing Indigenous consumption.

The project also examines aspects of the trial in the East Kimberley including its implementation, lack of community engagement, community resistance and effects on money management. Findings thus far indicate a chaotic trial period, as well as a deeply flawed logic, disconnected from the relational poverty experienced by people receiving state benefits. Further, the research team reveal that by targeting First Nations subjectivities with behavioural conditions, state benefits reveal themselves as a contemporary technology of settler colonisation and assimilation.

Cashless Debit Card