Launch of Cashless Card in Hinkler - Paul Fletcher (Min. for Families and Social Services) with the Cashless Card at a local pharmacy.
Launch of Cashless Card in Hinkler - Paul Fletcher (Min. for Families and Social Services) with the Cashless Card at a local pharmacy. Alistair Brightman

OPINION: Why Hinkler needs Cashless Card

THE Cashless Debit Card is the reform we had to have.

Bill Shorten's pledge to scrap it is sure to prove popular with many local voters, particularly those who will be swiping their Indue cards come January 29.

It does nothing however to address the misery of generational welfare dependent, child neglect and a misguided sense of entitlement which is tearing at the fabric of our community.

In the absence of a better solution from those in opposition - both in government and to the concept of the card, this trial deserves a chance.

A look around local pubs in the daytime, shopping centres, court-houses, school drop-offs, reminds us of just how critical social change is.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt is right when he says the card is no "silver bullet" but the mere prospect of diverting dollars to groceries and necessities for kids where they would have otherwise been spent on pokies and beer, trumps the risk of increased petty crime and shame felt by card-holders who are doing the right thing.

Two key things however should coincide with this trial.

Fears of a migration of welfare families to Maryborough have repeatedly been shrugged off by our pollies but they will have a case to answer if the Heritage City suffers any further social burden.

The relocation of Hinkler residents since the reform was passed last year should be monitored closely alongside crime and social issues data. If the trial is a success, Wide Bay must be next in line.

Increased funding for drug and alcohol support services must be prioritised.

Staff and residents at local rehabilitation centres like Bayside Transformations are living proof of the difference treatment makes to these social issues.

Welfare reform is a step in the right direction.

But it is only a small piece in a puzzle which will remain unsolved until we address the cause and ensure we aren't simply shifting the problem down the road.

What do you think about the Cashless Card roll-out? Send us an email to editorial@ frasercoastchronicle.com.au



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