Early support in region for cashless welfare card
FRASER Coast businesses have put initial support behind the idea of a cashless welfare card for the region.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge were in Hervey Bay yesterday to discuss the potential roll-out of the card across the Hinkler electorate, which includes Hervey Bay.
The Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast at the Mantra, with 30 to 40 business and community leaders, at which Mr Tudge and Mr Pitt spoke about the card.
Mr Tudge said it had been an opportunity to reassure people and clear up some misconceptions about the card and how it would work.
"It's basically an ordinary Visa Debit Card,” he said.
"Every single business that already has an EFTPOS machine, it will work at.
"And yes, it will work at Aldi - I've been asked that one a few times.”
The only exceptions would be businesses specifically "switched off” from the service, such as those supplying liquor or gambling products.
Mr Tudge believed there was a lot of confusion and misinformation circulating about the groups to which the card would apply.
"If we did proceed here we would be guided by the community leaders (as to which groups would be issued with the card).
"We're focusing on the young unemployed cohort, firstly to address ice and alcohol addiction issues and secondly to give them the motivation to take work when it's available.”
He said aged pension recipients would not be affected, and neither, at this stage, would disability support pension or carer payment recipients.
Mr Pitt said his office had done a mail-out of survey forms to a sample of constituents and, with about 1000 forms returned so far, there had been 70% support for the card.
He said he was not interested in the views of out-of-towners who had come to the area simply to protest.
The Chronicle previously reported that Mr Tudge's visit to Hervey Bay had been cancelled; it is now understood that there was a venue change rather than cancellation. The Chronicle apologises for any confusion.