Member for Hinkler holds another round of local CDC consultations

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge today met with local business owners and community groups to answer any questions they may have about the proposed Cashless Debit Card (CDC).

The pair spent the day in Hervey Bay talking to the Chamber of Commerce, welfare groups, churches and community leaders, who are on the ground assisting welfare recipients and people with drug, alcohol and gambling addictions.

“Despite the best efforts of activists to disrupt a business meeting, the discussions were highly productive and we were able to clear up several misconceptions,” Mr Pitt said (Note: facts at the bottom of this release).

“Our meetings in Hervey Bay build on the consultation the Minister and I did in Bundaberg last month.”

Mr Pitt said his door was always open for Hinkler residents who have questions or concerns about the CDC.

He said the meeting held by the State Member for Bundaberg on Monday night was politically motivated, and not organised to facilitate genuine two-way dialogue. 

“The State Member for Bundaberg is spreading misinformation and is unnecessarily scaring vulnerable people,” he said.  

“To my knowledge, there were no trial participants in attendance to share their experiences; nor were there representatives from the Federal Department of Human Services.

“As the Member for Bundaberg stated (NewsMail 6/6), many of those who attended the meeting came from outside the electorate and are already firmly ideologically opposed to the CDC. And many of those who have been active on social media are based interstate.

“It is very disappointing to see the similar tactics used at the last State election, when the unions brought in professional protestors from around the country.”

Facts about the proposed CDC:

  • Under the CDC, 80 per cent of an individual’s welfare payment is placed on the card, to prevent people spending all of their welfare on illicit drugs, gambling and alcohol. The remaining 20 per cent is placed into their normal bank account, and can be withdrawn in cash and spent as they wish.

  • The CDC can be used anywhere Eftpos is available, except to buy alcohol or spend at gambling venues.

  • Businesses do not need to apply or register to accept the Card – it is simply linked to their Eftpos machine (no additional red tape or costs).

  • Only mixed businesses (such as Hervey Bay Boat Club) need to apply to become an ‘approved merchant’. There is no cost to apply. For example, the Card would be accepted in the bistro, but not at the bar or in the gaming room.

  • Bills can be paid in the same way they are with any other card or bank account.

  • The CDC will not apply to DVA, disability or aged pensioners.

Feedback from local businesses in the two trial sites (Ceduna and East Kimberley) has been overwhelmingly positive. For example, Bevan and Bernice Spackman (owners of the Tuckerbox IGA in Kununurra) said:

 “The Cashless Debit Card is welcome in our business at any time, at no cost the customer. It’s a fair system, and people seem to be spending more money on the healthy essentials.”

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