The CDC program has the objective of reducing immediate hardship and deprivation, helping welfare recipients with their budgeting strategies and reducing the likelihood that they will remain on welfare and out of the workforce for extended periods.
Similar to previous inquiries into the CDC program, evidence from the inquiry indicated broad recognition of the need to address antisocial behaviour and support improvements in social and financial wellbeing at an individual and community level.
The committee received evidence which reflected the diverse range of views on the CDC. Whilst some submitters were supportive of the program, other submitters continued to raise similar concerns to those identified in the committee’s previous inquiries into the CDC program.
This chapter explores key issues raised by inquiry participants including harm reduction; card functionality; monitoring and evaluation; and other concerns.
The primary purpose of the CDC program is to reduce harm at a community level from the use of harmful products such as alcohol, illicit drugs and gambling. A flow-on impact is that participants are able to stabilise their lives, leading to an increased ability to participate in the workforce.
The Shire of Coolgardie reported that, prior to the rollout of the CDC trial in the Goldfields region, community leaders and Aboriginal elders expressed an urgent need for serious social issues to be addressed including antisocial behaviour, crime, substance abuse, domestic violence and child neglect.
The Hon. Trevor Evans MP pointed out in his second reading speech that the CDC program has shown positive signs in reducing harm and encouraging socially responsible behaviour in the trial sites, with more of participants’ welfare payments being directed to essential items:
Over the life of the program, over $125 million has been spent at businesses that sell groceries and food, that could not be spent on restricted items like alcohol, drugs and gambling products.
Since its introduction, the CDC has had positive impacts on addressing violence and antisocial behaviours. Evidence received from the Goldfields CDC trial site indicated local police and ambulance officers have noticed a decrease in offences and callouts.
Similarly, in the Ceduna trial site, a community paramedic reported observing a decline in domestic violence, alcohol consumption and numbers of people presenting to the emergency department at the hospital.
This was supported by the National Council of Women Australia which shared insights from women in the East Kimberley region:
According to those working in the refuge, serious assaults and domestic and family violence reports have declined.
Further, according to a Councillor and former police prosecutor in Ceduna, the introduction of the CDC has resulted in a decline in court presentations:
The numbers of people presenting to court have declined. We used to hold court once a month. This has now declined to once every two months due to a decline in numbers.
A number of inquiry participants described the positive outcomes of the CDC on the health and wellbeing of children, including improved nutrition and access to regular meals, better clothing, and increased school attendance.
For example, the Shire of Coolgardie advised the committee that local primary schools have reported increased student attendance with punctual arrival and appropriate clothing and school uniforms.
Reports from a community elder in Kalgoorlie communicated a similar picture:
We see families going to the shop to buy breakfast and lunch in the morning before school, so kids are better prepared for school… You see kids walking in new shoes, new clothes. They are cleaner, better fed and going to school.
This sentiment was echoed by women and family members in the Kimberley who reported to the National Council of Women Australia that:
They are pleased with the card. They can feed their families. Kids aren’t going to school hungry and…kids who were caught trying to steal food have also declined in Kununurra.
Other positive outcomes
These improvements in socially responsible behaviour have positive flow-on benefits in contributing to a sense of personal achievement for individuals in the CDC trial areas. For example, a Coolgardie Aboriginal elder shared her personal story that, since being on the CDC, her grandson has been able to save up for a new family car that he has now proudly purchased.
Further, as a community elder from the East Kimberley explained, the quarantining of welfare payments has also had a positive impact on employment outcomes in the CDC trial sites:
My son had a long-term problem with the grog for five years. After the CDC came in it helped him get sober and now, he is working with a well‑known Indigenous TV personality as a cultural advisor. It has changed his life. His wife is also working now.
The committee also heard examples of individuals in trial sites improving their technical capabilities as a result of the CDC:
In fact, one woman told me of her young son, who taught her to order online. I think this is a gorgeous story. Coles removing the ordering of alcohol online is, in my view, very positive. The woman told me, ‘The whole family looks forward to the food just turning up’.
Impacts of COVID-19 stimulus measures
According to the Minderoo Foundation’s Generation One, the recent COVID‑19 pandemic stimulus measures not subject to the CDC and the temporary pause on new CDC participants have had a negative impact:
This temporary pause, which has been in place since March 25, has not only resulted in significant numbers of people who would otherwise be CDC participants not being placed on the CDC, it was compounded by the $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement, resulting in a significant inflow of cash into communities that had otherwise adapted to a largely cashless economy.
The Wunan Foundation supported this notion by pointing to media reports from the West Kimberley (which does not have the CDC) that increased welfare payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic had increased social harm. The Wunan Foundation maintained that without the CDC, the East Kimberley region would have experienced similar exacerbation of issues of Indigenous disadvantage and social dysfunction.
Mr Allan Suter OAM, the former Mayor of Ceduna also noted that in the Ceduna region in recent months, large payments of superannuation withdrawals have resulted in a return to excessive levels of alcohol consumption, gambling and drug use among some visitors and community members leading to domestic violence, fights and other distressing matters. Mr Suter OAM suggested any withdrawal of the CDC may therefore see a re‑emergence of such harmful behaviours.
Similarly in Cape York, the Family Responsibilities Commission pointed to concerns of destabilisation in local households should the model not continue:
For example, recently, with the stimulus moneys, it has been the view of those local commissioners on the ground that because those moneys weren’t subjected to our current income management arrangements it meant there was an increase in gambling and other socially irresponsible behaviours.
One criticism of income management is that by imposing restrictions on how money can be spent, individuals are not actually supported to build skills to manage their own finances. The committee received on-the-ground comments from CDC holders regarding some practical disadvantages of the card:
On the card, we can’t see the cash in our hands and so we can’t work out how much money we’ve got and it’s confusing for people.
The bill includes a new paragraph to identify that supporting program participants and voluntary participants with their budgeting strategies is a key objective of the program.
DSS reported that participants are now able to check their account balance and track their spending through various technologies, including online and the Indue mobile application. Participants can also set up text message notifications when they make a purchase using their CDC to inform participants on how much they have spent and their remaining account balance.
The Shire of Coolgardie reported that it has witnessed improved financial outcomes for participants, who have previously struggled with their finances, now being able to save money since the introduction of the trial:
The free automatic text message alerts to track the balance of Cashless Debit Card accounts has, by a long stretch, been the most convenient and positively received service.
In addition, DSS funds a range of support services to assist CDC participants’ financial management practices, including local partners through the card provider, financial counsellors and case management programs.
This budgeting support was acknowledged by the Salvation Army:
We therefore welcome the announcement in the 2020-21 federal budget of additional funding to continue Money Support Hubs that provide financial counselling, basic budgeting skills and financial education in 33 IM and CDC locations.
DSS reported to the committee that CDC has supported participants to build savings, with the payment of monthly interest on funds held in their CDC accounts commencing on 23 June 2020 (including back paid interest to 1 July 2019). Program data shows that 14 per cent of participants have been able to hold $500 or more in their accounts, with approximately 500 of those being single parents.
Issues with card functionality
Evidence received during previous inquiries and this inquiry indicated that people reported that there were significant issues associated with the functionality of the CDC and BasicsCard, including access to some retailers, payment issues and system outages.
Submitters also expressed concerns about the stigma and sense of shame experienced by cardholders.
While some of this evidence could not be substantiated by DSS or Indue, DSS has acknowledged these issues and has worked towards resolving them through a number of improvements to the Indue Card for CDC participants. Additionally, according to DSS, the proposal to transition BasicsCard holders to the CDC will assist in addressing concerns associated with the BasicsCard.
Multiple inquiry participants expressed frustration with transactions being declined for no apparent reason and the limitations on not being allowed to purchase approved goods at some mixed merchants (those selling restricted and non‑restricted goods).
DSS data shows the vast majority of declined transactions are due to insufficient funds.
However, the difficulties related to shopping at mixed merchants with the CDC remain a key concern. For example, the No Cashless Welfare Debit Card Australia community group explained the limitations this can have, particularly in regional areas:
The people out in the regions—for instance, cardholders who are living out in the regions—face multiple issues of cards not being able to be used at the shop in their towns. As for servos, many don’t accept the card in regional areas, especially in WA.
DSS is addressing the issue through developing two Product Level Blocking (PLB) solutions for small and medium merchants and working with major national merchants to implement their own solutions.
At September 2020, a number of merchants across the East Kimberley, Goldfields and Bundaberg and Hervey Bay areas have now deployed PLB capability. PLB has also been implemented at national merchants such as Australia Post, Woolworths, Coles and Aldi.
The committee was advised of the expectation that 70 per cent of mixed merchants will be equipped with the automated PLB technology within the next 12 months.
The introduction of PLB means merchant staff do not need to know what type of card the customer is using. This helps to improve the shopping experience for the cardholder, opens up opportunities for participants to shop at more businesses and simplifies operations for the merchant.
Concerns were also raised with the committee regarding the lack of consumer choice by forcing participants onto a certain financial provider, currently Indue. For example, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare submitted:
The withdrawal of this consumer choice, albeit for a small proportion of income, constitutes an unjust and disproportionate restriction of agency and financial rights and sets a dangerous precedent that allows government to decide which consumer markets people may engage in and on what terms.
The Government has also received such feedback regarding the requirement for participants to maintain accounts with two different financial institutions while on the CDC. As a result, DSS is exploring the feasibility of multiple card issuers, to give participants a choice of which financial institution they have their CDC account with.
A representative from the CDC Technology Working Group noted the expectation that the functionality for multiple card issuers would be available by June 2021.
The committee received evidence that stigma and a sense of shame associated with having a CDC remain issues for many participants. In particular, concerns were raised regarding stigma leading to an increase in mental health issues amongst CDC participants and their families.
These findings are also reflected in the early results from the Draft Second Impact Evaluation, which indicate that feelings of discrimination, embarrassment, shame, and unfairness as a result of being on the card were experienced by participants.
DSS reported that this feedback has been recognised and continual improvements have been made to the CDC to ensure it looks and functions like any other debit card. For example, the card was redesigned to remove the Indue logo from the front and as of 29 July 2020, contactless cards became available to participants.
The introduction of PLB is also assisting in reducing stigma as the merchants do not need to know which type of card is used by customers.
In its submission to the inquiry, the Salvation Army recognised the progress made to reduce stigma:
We welcome the work being progressed on technology options to improve the operation of the CDC, including to enable multiple card issuers and product level blocking. It is our hope that this will go some way towards reducing the stigma associated with the physical card.
The committee received accounts from some individuals of the CDC malfunctioning and payments, such as rent, not processing as intended. For example, at a public hearing, Ms Wilkes told the committee about instances where CDC malfunctions had severe consequences:
There have been so many cases of people and their rent not being paid being placed […] which means they can no longer get rentals in the rental market as owners have blacklisted them for non-payment of rent.
In November 2019, in response to concerns raised about system malfunctions impacting the user experience, DSS and Indue implemented stand-in processing which means that Indue outages from this date will not affect CDC transactions. Stand-in processing enables a third party to authorise transactions should Indue have a system outage, allowing participants to keep making payments with their CDC.
Large one-off purchases
In addition, some inquiry participants were concerned about the restrictions on large expenses and the need to approach the current card provider, Indue, to facilitate larger purchases.
DSS advised the committee that, to ensure participants are able to make larger cash-only purchases, participants are able to transfer up to $200 from their CDC account to their regular bank account every 28 days. Participants can complete this transfer online through their CDC account.
Generation One (Minderoo Foundation) suggested that many CDC participants and community members may be broadly unaware of this option.
The committee received evidence of CDC users being unable to purchase products online and other reports from individuals outside the trial sites who were concerned that the card would not allow for online purchases. For example, an inquiry participant voiced her concerns that the CDC would significantly impact access to products:
My variety and choice of what I can buy and where I can buy them will be limited. I will not be able to shop online for cheaper items or items that are unavailable in my area.
DSS advised the committee that the CDC operates like a standard, mainstream banking product and also enables a range of flexible payment options including online transfers, BPAY, online shopping and recurring deductions.
Transition from the IM BasicsCard to CDC
Technology associated with the IM BasicsCard has not advanced as much as the CDC which impacts the user experience for IM participants. IM limits the number of merchants who can accept the BasicsCard (currently accepted at around 17 000 merchants compared with the CDC which is accepted at over 900 000 terminals), which limits the options for where IM participants can purchase essential items.
The committee received evidence of IM participants struggling with the limitations imposed by the BasicsCard. For example, in a study of income management in Australia, participants explained that, in addition to certain supermarkets, the BasicsCard was not accepted by various petrol stations, sports stores, jewellery stores, hardware stores, restaurants that serve alcohol and veterinary clinics. Some participants also struggled to find essential health services that accepted the card – for example, optometrists and pharmacists. One of the study participants recalled:
I had to go in and get my medication […] They turned around and they kept saying you can’t use the BasicsCard to pay the prescriptions. You couldn’t find anyone who would basically take this BasicsCard for anything.
As well as expanding the range of eligible retailers, transitioning to the updated technology of the CDC will assist in reducing stigma as it allows users to purchase items from mixed merchant stores without having to line up in separate queues to use the card, as is the case with the BasicsCard.
Following consultations with NT communities throughout 2018–2020, DSS informed the committee that the consistent message from the majority of community members was that the CDC is a superior product and offers improved functionality and greater consumer choice for participants as compared to the BasicsCard.
Monitoring and evaluation
Evaluations to date
ORIMA CDC trial evaluation
As was the case in previous inquiry reports related to CDC legislation, some inquiry participants questioned the methodology and characterisation of the results of the 2017 ORIMA evaluation report. They argued that there was insufficient evidence to support claims of the trial’s effectiveness.
For example, Adjunct Professor Eva Cox AO criticised the data collection methods of the 2017 ORIMA evaluation including:
…the user questionnaire design, its length, the order of questions, the language and shape of some questions, and importantly, the probable contamination of responses.
Generation One (Minderoo Foundation) noted that the ORIMA evaluation has been the most extensive evaluation of the CDC to date.
In response to criticisms about the ORIMA research, DSS commissioned a Second Impact Evaluation to assess the ongoing impact of the CDC.
Draft Second Impact Evaluation
The independent Second Impact Evaluation of the CDC is currently being finalised by the University of Adelaide and the early findings are in line with the many other evaluations of welfare quarantining measures.
DSS reported that early findings from the Draft Second Impact Evaluation identify:
consistent and clear evidence that alcohol consumption has reduced since the introduction of the CDC;
short-term evidence that the CDC has been helping to reduce gambling, with positive impacts especially in the context of family and broader social life; and
in relation to financial planning and money management, the CDC was reported to make things better for those who were probably the most vulnerable and who needed it most.
Generation One (Minderoo Foundation) spoke to the committee about the importance of spending time in CDC trial sites to observe the benefits produced by the CDC:
It simply takes someone to walk around communities like Kununurra, … the Goldfields, and actually talking to people on the card and service providers and other community members to understand the impact this is having…for us, that’s the strongest evaluation and evidence that anyone can get.
Ms Shelley Cable, CEO of Generation One at the Minderoo Foundation, stressed to the committee the importance of not discrediting the lived experiences in community.
Inquiry participants were supportive of ongoing evaluation of the CDC program however some considered the changes to the evaluation process as a diversion from scrutiny and accountability.
The bill proposes to remove the statutory requirement that an evaluation be conducted by an independent expert within six months of the completion of a review of the cashless welfare arrangements. The EM explained that this provision is designed to address the potentially circular nature of current section 124PS:
The repeal of subsection 124PS(3) removes the requirement on independent experts to consult program participants which, in turn, will avoid the ethical implications of unnecessary repeat contact with vulnerable individuals.
This provision does not remove the ability for the program to be reviewed. Rather, where the Minister causes a review of the CDC to be conducted, a desktop evaluation of that review will then take place.
Impacts on IM participants in transitioning to CDC
As described in Chapter 1, the objective of the transition to the CDC for IM participants in the NT and Cape York is to provide the improved technology of the CDC, which enables a range of flexible payment options, greater access to merchants and fewer restrictions on participants.
The bill proposes amendments to ensure that IM program participants who transition to the CDC will maintain their current percentage of quarantined funds (50 per cent for most participants).
Concerns in relation to the transition from IM to the CDC included the ministerial discretion to vary the quantum of quarantined funds, access to tobacco purchases and lack of consultation with communities.
Some submitters raised concerns about the ability of the Minister to vary the restricted portion from 50 per cent to 80 per cent, considering that all other CDC sites have 80 per cent of participants’ payments quarantined.
DSS advised that the Minister will only exercise this power following a request from the community and that the measure allows different communities to take different approaches when submitting a request.
Further, when considering a community request, the Minister will undertake necessary consultation before deciding whether to make an instrument varying the restricted portions.
Notwithstanding the technological improvements in transitioning from the BasicsCard to the CDC, the committee heard concerns about the potential impact the transition may have on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in particular as IM currently restricts tobacco purchases whereas the CDC does not:
I think one of the negatives is that the BasicsCard actually prevented people from purchasing tobacco. The cashless debit card doesn’t prevent that. So there is concern that tobacco purchases will now increase and that will be very harmful to Indigenous people who suffer, for example, from heart disease and other lung diseases.
DSS reported that this issue has been raised in community information sessions in the NT with some stakeholders and participants concerned that the removal of the restriction on tobacco will impact on communities. While expenditure on tobacco will be monitored, CDC policy has not been changed to apply a more restrictive product to NT participants only.
Consultation and support to facilitate transition from IM to CDC
Some inquiry participants raised concerns about the consultation process undertaken by the Government to date, including limited avenues for meaningful two-way discussion which would afford NT community members a say in how this measure will apply to them.
DSS informed the committee that from October 2019 to March 2020, it delivered 83 information sessions to over 70 communities, engaged with nearly 3 500 community members and met with over 120 stakeholder and local organisations on the proposed transition from IM to the CDC.
COVID-19 travel restrictions meant the remainder of the Government’s planned consultations were unable to take place however DSS confirmed that it will continue to work with representative bodies, including land councils, service providers and Services Australia, to re-commence engagement activities in the NT and Cape York ahead of the proposed transition from IM to the CDC in these regions, while ensuring compliance with all COVID-19 safety requirements.
Generation One (Minderoo Foundation) noted that although NT communities have been largely supportive of the CDC transition, assistance will be required for individuals to re‑establish their banking arrangements including direct debits.
The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency also highlighted the importance of an adequate transition to ensure NT communities can capitalise on the advantages of the CDC:
Without adequate assistance to understand the proposed changes to the operation of welfare quarantining in the NT, we are concerned that individuals in remote Aboriginal communities will face additional difficulties resolving problems with using their card and accessing their money, with accessing the exemptions and exit procedures, and without taking advantage of changes to the card such as an increased ability to use it for online shopping and BPAY transactions.
$17.5 million has been allocated to transitioning IM in the NT and Cape York.
Other key concerns raised by submitters
Limited opportunity for scrutiny
Some inquiry participants raised concerns about the limited timeframe for consideration and scrutiny of the bill and questioned the need to rush through legislation with such important implications for many Australians.
However, the Regulation Impact Statement articulates that a number of the proposed provisions of the bill are identical to the amendments that were made in the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management to Cashless Debit Card Transition) Bill 2019 in response to the findings of the inquiry into the bill and further consultations.
These changes, which have been incorporated into the current bill, include:
limiting the ministerial power to increase the portion of a person’s payment placed onto the card to a maximum of 80 per cent for NT participants;
excluding Age Pension recipients from being compulsory CDC participants in the NT; and
establishing a power to terminate voluntary IM agreements in the NT.
Establishing the CDC as an ongoing program
Some inquiry participants raised concerns about the bill’s proposal to establish the CDC as an ongoing program, especially prior to the finalisation of the Draft Second Impact Evaluation. Some submitters were concerned that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the CDC has been effective in existing trial sites.
To date, legislation has generally provided for 12 month extensions to the CDC arrangements.
However, Generation One (Minderoo Foundation) noted that the CDC’s nature as a trial program has drawn criticism:
This ongoing uncertainty has caused inefficiency through administration […], confusion in trial sites, and an inability to reflect long-term thinking in the legislation. In addition, because it is viewed as a trial program, a number of technology limitations have not been addressed and adding new CDC Issuers beyond Indue has not been possible.
DSS reported that the continuation of the CDC in the established sites is a direct response to calls from community leaders requesting that the Government deliver certainty to participants, stakeholders and communities by making the trial an ongoing measure:
This Bill will sustain the positive impacts and effectiveness of the CDC and signal the Government’s long-term commitment to the future of the CDC with financial institutions.
Similar to previous inquiries, some inquiry participants expressed unease about the extent to which the bill engages and limits certain human rights, observing that the limitations placed on participants’ human rights may not be reasonable and proportionate to the aims of the bill.
The statement of compatibility with human rights (statement of compatibility) recognised that the scheme engages and limits three human rights: the right to social security, the right to a private life and the right to equality and non-discrimination. Given the prevalence of social harm in the areas the scheme operates, the statement of compatibility concluded that there are effective community safeguards in place and the limitations on these rights are reasonable and proportionate to achieving the CDC program objectives.
The Wunan Foundation supported the bill’s provisions which ensure that welfare payments are spent in the best interest of welfare recipients, submitting that:
The ‘freedom’ agenda, which argues that people should be able to spend their welfare payments on whatever they want, is surely eclipsed by the human rights of the vulnerable children and old people in the East Kimberley. The right to live free from violence, hunger, and despair. And the right to live full and independent lives.
Further, some inquiry participants questioned the disproportionate impact of the bill on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, whom they considered to be overrepresented in the trial cohorts.
The statement of compatibility notes that the program is not applied on the basis of race or cultural factors and that locations for the program have been chosen based on objective criteria, including high levels of welfare dependence and community harm. On that basis the statement of compatibility maintains that the rights to equality and non‑discrimination are not directly limited by the bill.
Wellbeing exemption and exit determinations
A number of submitters raised concerns about the Secretary’s ability to review and revoke wellbeing exemptions and exit determinations citing a lack of clarity and transparency regarding the review and revocation process.
Some inquiry participants highlighted potential issues about procedural fairness given the lack of clarity around what constitutes a satisfactory demonstration of a person’s ability to manage their affairs.
For example, Change the Record is concerned that the bill’s provisions may confer too broad power on the Minister to raise or change the threshold of what is required to demonstrate that an individual is able to manage their affairs, and therefore exit the program.
Currently, these exit applications are determined on a case by case basis. DSS advised the committee that this process would not add new criteria; rather it would set out principles that will provide participants with greater clarity relating to the considerations that underpin the determination of exit applications.
Other matters raised by submitters and witnesses
Inquiry participants also raised concerns about the following matters:
The dichotomy between the transition of IM to the CDC program and the National Agreement on Closing the Gap which emphasises genuine partnerships and shared decision-making between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The need for a bottom-up approach which prioritises effective, genuine engagement and consultation processes and structures to work in collaboration and partnership to address systemic issues, including welfare dependency.
The acknowledgement that the card is an important element but is not a silver bullet and must be complemented by wraparound services such as employment and training pathways, transitional housing, financial counselling and addiction support.
The ongoing validity of the no-action letter issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in 2015 regarding the prohibition in section 12DL of the Australian Securities Investments Commission Act 2001 on unsolicited credit cards and debit cards.
This is the seventh inquiry into legislation relating to the CDC and IM that the committee has conducted in recent years. As such, the committee is well aware of the wide range of views on the CDC and IM. The committee notes that most of the concerns raised by submitters in this inquiry have already been examined by the committee.
The committee is of the view that the issues associated with the functionality of the CDC that were raised in this and previous inquiries as well as during community consultations are being actively addressed by DSS. With the introduction of PLB solutions, CDC cardholders are now able to shop at more businesses, including online. Importantly, the PLB solutions combined with other technological improvements have significantly reduced the stigma associated with the card. The committee is confident that the CDC Technology Working Group established by DSS will continue to consider technology options to improve the operations of the CDC.
The committee is of the view that these improvements to the functionality of the card will greatly benefit IM participants transitioning to the CDC. Indeed, the CDC will provide greater consumer choice for participants compared to the BasicsCard, which is currently only accepted in a limited number of stores.
CDC as an ongoing program
The committee is encouraged by reports from local community members and organisations that the CDC is continuing to have a positive impact and reduce the level of social harm in each trial site. Importantly, reports of significant improvements in the welfare of children in various communities indicate that the program is achieving its objective of reducing hardship and deprivation.
The committee notes the call for certainty around the program from some submitters. The committee is of the view that making the CDC an ongoing measure will provide stability and sees significant benefit in the continuation of the program.
The committee notes there was some confusion from individual submitters who expressed concern that the bill would roll CDC out nationally. The committee wishes to clarify that the bill proposes to establish the CDC as an ongoing program in only the existing CDC trial sites and IM locations.
The committee recommends that the bill be passed.