Cash for Digital ID

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The West Australian Government is offering families a one-off cash payment. All you have to do to claim it is get a Digital ID.

The cost of living relief payment of $250 for each secondary student, and $150 for each primary student and kindergartener is intended to assist parents with purchasing school essentials.

But the payment is not means-tested, so rich and poor alike, if you have school-aged children, you can claim – provided you get a Digital ID and sign up for the government’s ServicesWA app.

Applications for the payment open on 15 April, and the government has been blitzing it in the media and via memos disseminated to parents through schools since the weekend so that families can get their Digital ID and ServiceWA app registrations sorted, ready to cash in next month.

Now of course, Digital ID is voluntary in Australia, so you technically can claim your one off payment without getting a Digital ID and creating a profile on the WA Government’s services app.

But they’re not going to make it easy for you. There will be friction. It will “not be as fast and convenient” as doing it the government’s preferred way.

There is no information online about how to claim the payment without registering for Digital ID and signing into the ServiceWA app, so you have to call the help phone line.

A local parent and I both called the relevant helpline and received the same information. Parents will have to:

  1. Call the line and wait on hold.
  2. Speak to an operator who tells you to go online to register for Digital ID.
  3. Persist, only to find out there are no manual claim forms available yet – it will appear when the claims period commences on 15 April. (The government is advertising the Service WA sign up through schools and media now to get parents ready to claim electronically from 15 April onwards).
  4. The operator doesn’t have any further information because all they’ve been told is to direct everyone to get Digital ID and sign up for the Service WA app.
  5. Wait a month, keep checking back for the form to appear, download it, mail it,[1] then wait probably a month processing time for the whole process to play out.

Carrots and friction. Oldest tricks in the book for coaxing a compliant population down this path, not that one.

Sound familiar?

Jabs for free stuff! Debt forgiveness! Unvaxxed travellers will need to do extra PCR testing and quarantine for twice as long.

Delicious Magazine, October 2021
Aboriginal & torres strait islander organisation Kimberwalli offered to pay off fines in exchange for getting jabbed, posted to Instagram October 2021

Keep a close eye, folks, because last time, they said there would be no stick. They said it would be voluntary. And we know how that turned out.

Digital ID will be voluntary the way Covid vaccines were voluntary.

Update: The first iteration of this article had proof of vax requirements as an example of friction, but I revised this after publishing, because in the extreme cases, like WA, it was so punitive that it was stick, not friction. A better example of friction would be that unvaxxed travellers were required to take more PCR tests and longer quarantine periods than vaccinated travellers on some journeys, making the process of travelling more burdensome.

This article first appeared on Rebekah’s Substack, Dystopian Down Under.

[1] It’s unlikely that scanning the form and emailing it in will be an option because government departments are moving away from email and increasingly directing everything through online portals. I experienced this when I signed up for Director’s ID last year, which required registration for Digital ID. I didn’t wish to create a Digital ID so I called up, waiting on hold for hours, and was instructed to send a signed letter by snail mail as the only alternative.

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  • Rebekah Barnett

    Rebekah Barnett reports from Western Australia. She holds a BA in Communications (Hons.) from the University of Western Australia, and has worked with Jab Injuries Australia as a volunteer interviewer. Find her work on her Substack page, Dystopian Down Under.

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