Cashless card protesters vow to ramp up campaign
HERVEY Bay's anti-cashless welfare card group has vowed to ramp up their protests against the card's proposed rollout in Hinkler ahead of the Senate's upcoming decision.
Their resolve comes as the Senate prepares to debate the proposal to extend the card's trial in Hervey Bay and Bundaberg during this week's sittings.
About 20 anti-card activists and members of the Hervey Bay Labor branch held a public protest on Saturday morning at Pioneer Park.
Kathryn Wilkes, who has spearheaded the fight against the card since it was first proposed, said the fight was not over yet.
"We've done everything humanly possible, we've spoken to Senators, written emails, gone to Canberra to speak to the Senate, other members of our group have spoken up for the community,” Ms Wilkes has said.
"That's all we can keep doing, keep making people aware.”
Should the Senate pass the recommendation to extend the card's trial, Ms Wilkes said the group's Facebook page would become a support page for people placed on the card.
"They'll be able to let the whole world know what's going on,” she said.
Vice president of the Hervey Bay Labor branch Tom Smith said it was an issue for the party as well, who oppose the Hinkler trial.
"It's not just a welfare issue, it's a community issue,” Mr Smith said.
"We have held our position the whole way through, we've always been against it.
"The best thing we can do is provide the best education, attract teachers from around Australia, small business and new infrastructure and support our community, not say 'You're different, and here's a card that says you're different.'”
Last week, the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee recommended the trial be extended to Hinkler in their report. If passed, more than 6700 welfare recipients across Hervey Bay and Bundaberg will be placed on the card. The cashless welfare card cannot be used to buy alcohol and limits cash withdrawals to 20 per cent.