Cashless Debit Card to help families and children in Hinkler

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

After 18 months of community consultation and debate, the Senate has passed legislation for the Cashless Debit Card to be trialled in the Hinkler electorate.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt has said the Cashless Debit Card was a difficult, but necessary policy, however it was not a time for celebration.

“I’m glad that not only the majority of people in the Hinkler electorate support the CDC trial here but finally, so too does the Senate. It’s unfortunate that the Labor Party didn’t continue the bipartisan support it showed for the initial trial sites but we are grateful a number of independent senators listened to the people of this electorate,” Mr Pitt said.

“This policy is about families, helping the children of this region, and breaking the cycle of welfare dependence.

“During extensive community consultation conducted over 18 months, the feedback from local frontline service providers, was that the trial needed to include parenting payments, because the people who are being affected the most are children.

“I’ve always stated the Cashless Debit Card is not a cure all. It is just one tool to try and address these issues, when supported by job creation programs and support services.”

“I would like to thank all the local people – nurses, police, teachers, welfare workers – who publicly stated their support for the card, despite the relentless online assault that this created for them. It takes courage to stand up publicly and yet they did it because they thought it would make a difference,” Mr Pitt said.

Mr Pitt said a number of Coalition Government job creation programs aimed at strengthening the regional economy are already in place or ready to be rolled out.

“The Building Better Regions Fund has invested $16.3 million in Round 1 and an additional $10 million in Round 2 and the Wide Bay-Burnett Regional Jobs Investment Package has five projects in Hinkler worth $30.8 million, resulting in 99 construction jobs and 333 ongoing positions.

“The Wide Bay will be one of the Regional Employment Trials and an Entrepreneurship Facilitator for mature aged Australians will be based in Bundaberg.”

Mr Pitt said the Department of Social Services is now working on establishing additional support services which will be aided by an investment of $1 million to provide financial counselling, alcohol and drug services, job readiness programs and health services for people who will be on the CDC.

“I look forward to continue hearing from the local doctors, teachers, police, welfare workers and churches throughout the trial as it was their first-hand experience that has led to this trial being structured to assist the individuals, children and families in the cohort group,” Mr Pitt said.

The Cashless Debit Card quarantines 80 percent of a person’s welfare payment onto the card and it cannot be used to buy alcohol, gambling or withdraw cash.

In the Hinkler trial it will apply to around 6,700 people aged 35 and under receiving Newstart, Youth Allowance (Job Seeker), Parenting Payment (single) or Parenting Payment (partnered).

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