Locals say the cashless card will strip locals of their rights.
Locals say the cashless card will strip locals of their rights. Mike Knott BUN090617CASHLESS2

Opponents say cashless card is a 'form of abuse'

BUNDABERG woman Jodie McNally says she's never touched alcohol, never smoked, never taken drugs, never bought a lotto ticket and she has a job.

Ms McNally is not the stereotypical opponent of the Cashless Debit Card as depicted by some supporters of the income management scheme.

"Dole bludgers” and "get a job” are the kind of comments that are levelled at opponents, some of whom took part in a protest in the Bundaberg CBD today.

Neither applies to Ms McNally.

"I'm complaining because this card is a disgusting form of abuse,” she said.

"If you were in a relationship and your partner controlled your finances like this, it would be considered domestic violence, according to the government website, for extra irony.”

The events come ahead of a public meeting about the card to be hosted by the Federal Government in Bundy next week.

Staff from the Department of Social Services will be at the Civic Centre Supper Room from 2-4pm on Tuesday to provide information and answer questions about the card.

It's the first official public meeting about the card following two meetings with businesspeople in Hervey Bay and Bundy and one at a Childers Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Yesterday's protest is being followed today with a rally at Anzac Park, Quay St, from 1pm, and tomorrow with an event, Hands in the Sand, at Scarness Beach in Hervey Bay from 11am.

Protesters will place 5000 paper hands on the beach and there will be a barbecue.

One of the organisers of today's protest, Daniel Stafford, said the card would affect the entire community.

Under the Cashless Debit Card, some welfare recipients would have 80% of their benefits quarantined from being used to buy alcohol, gamble and withdraw cash.

It was trialled in Ceduna, SA, and East Kimberley, WA, where it is now ongoing, and now the government wants it expanded to two new locations.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt is pushing for Hinkler to be one of them.

"Those who have the problems that the card is trying to fix will find other ways to get around the card to feed their habitual needs, more frequently turning to illegal practices to achieve it,” Mr Stafford said.

"Income management is already in place and can be used by those who need the help instead of forcing those who do not deserve to be punished and controlled when they are doing the right thing.

"The local economy, our tourist image, our community, will all be affected by the introduction of this card, not just those who are forced on to the first step of the welfare privatisation of our nation.”



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