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Cashless welfare card coming for Bundaberg, Hervey Bay

IT'S HAPPENING: Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge in Hervey Bay earlier this year to discuss the cashless welfare card.
IT'S HAPPENING: Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge in Hervey Bay earlier this year to discuss the cashless welfare card. Amanda Coop

AFTER months of speculation, debate and community consultation the Turnbull Government has decided to roll out the Cashless Debit Card in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

From early next year, 6700 Hinkler residents will be put on the card with the government providing an additional $1 million for local support services.

Do you think the Cashless Debit Card will be good for Hinkler?

This poll ended on 27 September 2017.

Current Results

Yes

30%

No

69%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge will announce the rollout in the region this morning.

For the first time the Federal Government has released details about who in Hinkler will be given the card and how much money will be put on it.

People aged 35 years and under on unemployment benefits or parenting payments will be given the card and have 80% of their government payments placed on it.

A spokesperson for Mr Tudge and Mr Pitt said the decision followed extensive consultations with community leaders over the past few months.

 

IT'S HAPPENING: Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge will announce the cashless welfare card today.
IT'S HAPPENING: Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge will announce the cashless welfare card today.

"Over 110 consultations were conducted, including the holding of public meetings," the spokesperson said.

"Keith Pitt, the Member for Hinkler, also conducted a community survey and numerous consultations."

Bundaberg and Hervey Bay will be the fourth region for the rollout of the card, following the announcement of the Goldfields in Western Australia earlier this month.

The spokesperson said that in each region the card and associated services were tailored to specific circumstances.

"The government has chosen this region and the card's parameters to help address key social problems identified during the consultations," she said.

"In particular, the high youth unemployment and intergenerational welfare dependence and the high use of alcohol, drugs and gambling including among young parents.

"The region has the second-highest youth unemployment rate in Queensland at 23.6%, with many now experiencing intergenerational welfare dependence.

"Of those who are under 30 on unemployment benefits today, 90% had a parent who was also on welfare during the past 15 years - the majority of whom were on welfare for at least nine of the last 15 years.

"Despite this high welfare dependence, there are often entry level jobs available that are not taken up by locals.

"Thousands of backpackers work in the region doing entry level positions."

The spokesperson said the evaluation of the Cashless card trials showed it helped to increase the motivation for people to find a job.

"This new region will test to see if the card can assist in breaking the intergenerational welfare that exists. Without any intervention, it is projected that 57% of those under 30 on unemployment benefits will still be on income support in 10 years' time."

Government consultations also revealed significant problems with alcohol, drugs and gambling, particularly among young families in Bundaberg.

"Many community sector leaders were concerned that money meant for children was not being spent on them," the spokesman said.

Complementing the card will be a further investment in community services of $1 million.

"There are already a significant number of services in place, including 70 federally funded services across the region which includes drug and alcohol services, financial capability services, employment and families and children's programs," the spokesperson said.

"Earlier this year, a further half million dollars was dedicated towards drug and alcohol programs.

"The additional $1 million will assist in providing for any unmet need as a result of the card.

"We will work with the Queensland Government and the local community to plan how best to do this."

Topics:  bundaberg cashless card editors picks hinkler keith pitt mp



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