Andrew Forrest accused of lack of transparency

Andrew Forrest accused of lack of transparency

Unread postby lazerzap » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:20 pm

Andrew Forrest accused of lack of transparency over ad for cashless welfare card

The mining magnate Andrew Forrest has been accused of lacking transparency after his philanthropic organisation, the Minderoo Foundation, launched an ad promoting the cashless welfare card that didn’t disclose his role as its chairman.

Forrest is the architect of the card, and made it a key recommendation in a review he led for the federal government on Indigenous employment. Since the card was adopted by the government and rolled out in trial communities in Western Australia and South Australia, Forrest has been advocating its wider implementation.
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The video advertisement is voiced by Aboriginal elder Ian Trust, who founded Aboriginal development organisation the Wunan Foundation in the East Kimberley. It uses animation to highlight the card’s success, and promotes data from the one-year evaluation of the card’s trial published in October.
The Minderoo Foundation’s ad for the cashless welfare card.

The ad says the card has led to a reduction in alcohol-related violence, but does not mention other findings from the report, including that 49% of those on the card said it had made their life worse. The ad states that children are “going to school more”, but does not provide the source of this data.

It calls on people to share their support for bringing the card to their own communities by sending a message to the government by filling in a form on the website.

“Let’s stop the welfare poverty cycle with a hand-up, not a hand-out,” a woman who narrates the ad with Trust says.

“It’s working in the East Kimberley – perhaps this card can help in your community too.”

A disclaimer on the website hosting the ad,, says the animation “is based on observations of the positive impacts the CDC has had within the community”. It discloses that Minderoo produced the ad but does not mention Forrest.

Welfare recipients in the trial towns receive 80% of their welfare payments into the Indue card, which cannot be used to withdraw cash or buy alcohol or gambling products. The remaining 20% can be withdrawn as cash.

The trial, which was extended in March, has been plagued by criticism, including concern about the government’s reliance on anecdotal data in naming the card a success. Malcolm Turnbull and the social services minister, Alan Tudge, have indicated the card will be introduced in more communities.

The advertisement has been emailed by the Minderoo Foundation to a number of councils, including the shire of Halls Creek in Western Australia, which in 2015 rejected a proposal that the town should take part in the card trial.
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David Pav, a resident of Ceduna in South Australia, is one of the few people who has managed to get himself taken off the cashless welfare card, after making numerous complaints to Centrelink that it was complicating mortgage repayments. He believes the card should be voluntary, or targeted to those with drinking and gambling issues.

He said he was angered when a link to the ad landed in his inbox.

“I have issues with a billionaire miner pushing his views and using his money, influence and power through a foundation he uses to drive social policy of a nation,” he said.

“Especially when they are promoting results that are not conclusive, from a trial that is not finalised.”

Minderoo Foundation said Forrest was overseas and unavailable to comment. The foundation did not respond to questions about how widely the ad was disseminated via email, or why Forrest’s involvement wi

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