Bundy mayor hits out at cashless card on national TV
BUNDABERG Mayor Jack Dempsey's comments on Sky News last night have sparked heated debate from all levels of Government.
Speaking on a panel, Mr Dempsey addressed the roll-out of the Cashless Debit Card in Bundaberg saying the cost analysis doesn't ring true.
"Some of these groups are saying (it will cost) between $10,000 to $12,000 per person," Mr Dempsey said.
"If those figures are ringing true, wouldn't that actually be able to stimulate jobs and small businesses to actually break the long cycle?"
Mr Dempsey was very clear that he wanted jobs, not welfare.
"Whoever brought this up in a party room deserves an uppercut because going into a Federal election, it's the last thing that any party needs on the table," he said.
"We need to be able to get the best bang for buck for the tax payers and also obviously look after people, but if it's so good, why isn't it across the whole of Australia?
"I'd like to look at payroll tax as well as company tax on both levels to stimulate jobs."
Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan said Mr Dempsey "should get his facts right" before spreading "misinformation into the public domain".
"The cost of the CDC trial is not $10,000 per person," Mr Tehan said.
"The costs of delivering the cashless debit card trial are projected to go below $2000 per participant once the program is expanded to the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay regions."
Mr Tehan said doing nothing to address the welfare issues in Bundaberg was not an option, and that the Government wanted Hinkler's support.
"After record jobs growth, the proportion of working age Australians now dependent on welfare has fallen to 15.1 per cent - the lowest level in over twenty five years," Mr Tehan said.
"The Cashless Debit Card is helping people manage their income and break the cycle of welfare dependency.
"Intergenerational welfare dependence is ruining families, there are some young people who have never seen their parents, and even their grandparents, hold down a job."
In September last year the mayor released a statement saying it was the opportunities created from the cashless card that would be of more importance.
"It is remarkable that the Wide Bay Region, because of its high unemployment, high percentage of people on some form of benefit (22%) and modest standard of living can attract projects like the cashless card but cannot draw meaningful funding and meaningful projects to help the region reach its as yet untapped potential," Mr Dempsey said.
"We desperately need the funds to provide the infrastructure that can take the region out of this abyss of unemployment and create jobs and provide our community with the dignity and success in life that employment can bring."