Federal Human Services Minister Joe Ludwig today said the
government was looking for technology vendors to supply a new
version of the Centrelink-issued BasicsCard that allows welfare
recipients to access fundamental services.
The BasicsCard was launched in 2008 to allow recipients of
government income support to buy (via the EFTPOS network) basic
services such as food, clothes, medicines, children's supplies and
basic household items, without being able to access luxury goods
like alcohol, pornography, tobacco or gambling services.
Ludwig today said the initial BasicsCard contracts were due to
expire in June 2010. "In preparation for this, the Australian
Government is exploring a new point of sale solution to support the
delivery of income management," he said in a statement today after
announcing the initiative at the Cards and Payments Australiasia
Conference in Sydney.
More than 16,000 customers have been issued with a BasicsCard
and have spent more than $50 million on what Ludwig described as
"priority goods and services". "The Australian Government wants
a new solution to build on the impressive foundations of the
BasicsCard," he said.
The BasicsCard does not contain a computer chip and uses simple
EFTPOS magnetic swipe technology. Ludwig said the government
intended to seek vendors through an open procurement process by the
middle of 2008, with industry briefings to be conducted in