News that the cashless welfare card will be rolled out across the Hinkler electorate next year will be incredibly distressing for members of that community that desperately do not want the card, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“The Government has consistently insisted the card won’t get ahead in a region where there is not community support. I have met many, many people in the Hinkler region that do not want the card, why have they been ignored?
“When I visited Hervey Bay earlier this month there was strong opposition to the card. People on the Disability Support Pension, Carers Allowance and Newstart spoke to me about how the cashless welfare card would remove their agency and ability to manage their finances. Many came to a community centre meeting to voice their concerns about how the card will make their lives worse. There is of deep concern.
“Many have tried to voice their concerns with their elected federal member Keith Pitt, but he is apparently ignoring their concerns. He is supposed to represent the views of his community, not just representing those he agrees with.
"Those supporting the cashless welfare card should take the blinkers off and read the various analysis of the evaluation report of the trial sitesand see that the Government's claims of success are flawed.
“There are not enough jobs in the Hinkler region, it is as simple as that. One young man in his mid-20s in the region cannot even get a job at a fast food outlet because those jobs go to teenagers. He is living on a shoestring and trying to provide from his family, this card is going to make it harder to manage his budget.
“This card removes agency from people who are already on a payment that is far too low. When you remove someone’s capacity to manage their budget you make things worse for them. This is only going to serve as a barrier for people finding work.
“Mr Pitt should instead be focused on job creation and increased supports for those struggling to get by".