FACT CHECK: Did New South Wales Announce Plans For ‘Establishing A Cashless Society In 2022’?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a press release from New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing a transition to a “cashless society” in the Australian state next year.

Verdict: False

There is no record of New South Wales’ premier putting out the press release. It appears to have been fabricated.

Fact Check:

The document, dated Aug. 30, attempts to suggest Berejiklian has announced a transition to a “cashless society” for her state due cash transactions being linked to “increased community transmissions of COVID-19.” It cites New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet as having advocated for the move, referencing the implementation of “digital currencies” in China.

According to the purported document, the “Alpha phase” of the cashless monetary system in New South Wales is supposed to start mid-2022. By then, people living in New South Wales “will be expected to have transferred their money into a virtual wallet to purchase goods and services,” the supposed press release alleges.

In reality, the image does not show a genuine press release put out by Berejiklian or her office. It cannot be found anywhere on the New South Wales government’s website, which publishes the premier’s press releases. The document also hasn’t been posted on any of Berejiklian’s social media accounts.

Australian media outlets such as The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Financial Review and ABC News haven’t reported on New South Wales transitioning to a “cashless society” next year. (RELATED: Was Walmart Sold To A Group Of Chinese Investors?)

Although Perrottet did, according to a press release, speak favorably in 2016 about the introduction of an Android smartphone-based contactless payment option at government-run Service New South Wales centers, there is no evidence in media reports that he has called for the state to transition to a “cashless society” while invoking Chinese cashless systems. His social media posts and press releases do not appear to contain any statements to that effect either.

While there is believed to be a small risk of contracting COVID-19 through touching contaminated surfaces or objects, COVID-19 primarily spreads through droplets containing SARS-CoV-2 landing in someone’s eyes, nose or mouth or being inhaled after an infected person exhales, coughs or sneezes, according to Harvard Medical School. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control states on its website that studies report viable SARS-CoV-2 virus “cannot be detected within minutes to hours” on porous surfaces such as cash.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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