The concept of a 'Healthy Welfare Card', now renamed as the Cashless Debit Card (CDC), was a recommendation of the Forrest Review into Employment and Training (Forrest 2014).
It was seen as a development from income management which has been occurring in parts of Australia since the Northern Territory Emergency Response, when it was first introduced for Aboriginal communities there.
The CDC appears to operate a little differently from the Basics Card1 used in the Northern Territory income management program.
The CDC is a debit card which can be used for any purchases excluding certain forms of gambling, drugs and alcohol. Unlike the Basics Card, which prohibits purchase of a similar range of goods and services but can only be used in registered stores, the CDC is meant to be acceptable to any retailer for all purchases other than the prohibited categories.