CASHLESS CARD: Jimi Riddle and Beau Jackson give their opinion on the proposed cashless welfare card.
CASHLESS CARD: Jimi Riddle and Beau Jackson give their opinion on the proposed cashless welfare card. Matt Collins

'We're not children': Residents respond to cashless welfare

THE cashless welfare card has rolled out in neighbouring regions, leaving South Burnett residents to wonder if it will come here next.

Residents had mixed reactions to the system, which has been launched in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

The Cashless Debit Card program is currently operating in regions in South Australia and Western Australia and was introduced throughout the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region on January 29.

As part of the 2018 mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, the government allocated funds towards a possible fifth site, a Department of Social Services spokesperson said.

The selection of a possible fifth trial site is still being determined and is subject to support from respective communities and consultations are ongoing.

Cashless debit card trial locations are selected based on a range of factors, including community interest and support, levels of welfare dependence and levels of community harm caused by gambling, alcohol and drug abuse.

South Burnett residents were asked for their thoughts on the card if it were to be introduced to our region.

One resident, who only wanted to be known as Paul, was against the cashless debit card.

"I think it is unreasonable that people who don't have a gambling or drug or alcohol problem need to be subjected to this,” he said.

"We're not children.”

The idea behind the introduction of the cashless card is to restrict those with drug, gambling or alcohol dependencies from using cash to purchase these items.

Paul did not agree the majority should be affected because of the actions of the small minority.

"Maybe they should identify the people with the problem and those people should go on to the cards,” he said.

Paul is currently waiting on an operation for a back injury before he can go back to work and he felt offended by the suggestion he should use a cashless card.

"It is disrespectful because they don't know anything about me,” he said.

"I'm an adult and I don't need some idiot in the government telling me what I can and can't do.”

Paul had some friendly advice for anyone who was using their welfare payments for alcohol, drugs or gambling.

"Get your priorities right,” he said.

"Pay the rent, pay for food and look after your kids.”

Kingaroy brothers, Jimi Riddle and Beau Jackson had a different opinion.

"It is fine by me,” Mr Riddle said.

"I see a lot of drug users around here, straight away their pay goes on drugs.

"That's what is corrupting this town, the ice industry.”

Mr Riddle, who was soon to start work with an irrigation business in Kumbia, said the cashless card would not be a problem for people if it was used correctly.

"Use it for food, the kids and rent. If you have a problem with it, you're probably guilty,” he said.

Mr Jackson, who was soon to start a Tafe course, said the basics card would not affect him.

"It should be a good thing,” he said.

"It should be used for families to focus on the kids, not for drugs or alcohol.

"That's not helping, it'll just put you in the ditch.”