Keith Pitt and Alan Tudge announce the Cashless Card for Bundaberg.
Keith Pitt and Alan Tudge announce the Cashless Card for Bundaberg. Craig Warhurst

Donaldson slams 'tiny carrot for big stick'

MEMBER for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson says the community was ambushed by the impromptu announcement of the Cashless Debit Card today in Bundaberg.

"Any roll-out of the cashless welfare card must be driven by the community, not the minister's agenda,” Ms Donaldson said.

"Bundaberg has said loud and clear it's not wanted here.”

Ms Donaldson said Alan Tudge's claim of 110 public consultations was "bogus”.

"Selective sessions with hand-picked groups is what really happened,” she said.

"No one wants alcohol-fuelled violence but there's no evidence this card reduces violence or crime.”

She said the government's own report showed the trials didn't improve safety in Ceduna and East Kimberley.

Ms Donaldson has hit back at the minister's claims about a "a massive reduction in alcohol abuse, in drug abuse, in domestic violence, in violence generally”.

"Janet Hunt from the ANU has responded with 'someone needs to tell them that the report does not say that',” she said.

The trials so far have cost $10,000 per person to implement.

Mr Tudge says 6700 people here will be affected and Ms Donaldson says that's $67 million wasted.

She is calling for more investment in mental health, financial counselling and rehab services.

"We should be investing this money in young people and giving them skills to get a job and off welfare, not the meagre $1 million the minister is offering,” she said.

"That's a tiny carrot for such a big stick.

"We need programs that target young people into work, not blaming them.

"Our Skilling Queenslanders for Work scheme has helped 740 Wide Bay residents back into the workforce.

"The Back to Work program directly supported 1378 jobs, 800 of these workers are jobseekers aged 15-24 picked up under the $20,000 Work Youth Boost for employers.

"That's over $8 million injected back into the local economy.

"The general unemployment rate in Wide Bay/Burnett is down to 8.7% in July from 10.7% where the LNP left it.

"That's what this community needs: more jobs for young people, not Alan Tudge's stunt.”

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