Our pollies' thoughts on cashless card

THE NewsMail asked our local politicians and candidates their thoughts on the Cashless Debit Card:

MP Stephen Bennett.
MP Stephen Bennett.

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett

We cannot ignore the fact that there are real problems in Bundaberg on a whole range of issues that need the extra Federal government funding and attention.

I share the real concerns of the high intergenerational welfare dependence, and we all need to remain focused on the key social issues and especially our stubbornly high youth unemployment.

As always, I hope this move will result in positive outcomes for the region.

In saying that, I want to make sure those most vulnerable in our community are looked after and treated fairly and respectfully.

I understand this is a sensitive issue and want to ensure that the card and associated services meet our region's needs.

LNP David Batt Bundaberg.
LNP David Batt Bundaberg. Mike Knott BUN230817BATT1

LNP Bundaberg candidate David Batt

I WAS born in Bundaberg and over the years I have seen state and federal governments from all sides of politics try, and fail, to address our historically high unemployment rate.

Having spent 23 years in the Queensland Police Service in units such as child protection, I have a very real understanding of the impact drugs, alcohol and gambling continue to have on our community.

There is no doubt that a new approach is desperately needed, and I hope the cashless debit card (CDC) will have the same positive impact here as it's reportedly had in the trial sites.

Unlike the State Member for Bundaberg, I like to have all the information before forming a position or passing judgement.

When the CDC was first suggested for our region, I sought assurances from the federal member for Hinkler that the program would be accompanied by additional support services and that it would not apply to aged pensioners or people with disabilities.

I am pleased Keith Pitt has heeded my concerns.

I find it puzzling that the state Member for Bundaberg seems to be firmly focused on federal issues, which she has no influence over.

When it comes to State issues like roads, car registration, crime and electricity prices, there is deathly silence.

If she was genuinely concerned about the people in our community who are struggling, she would be fighting in State Parliament to keep the cost of living down.

You have to wonder whether she has given up on the State Seat of Bundaberg and is hedging her bets for another tilt at Federal politics.

Mayor Jack Dempsey.
Mayor Jack Dempsey. Max Fleet BUN231015MAYOR8

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey

THERE needs to be a "carrot and stick" approach to dealing with people on benefits and especially in areas where the cashless card is being trialled.

The Bundaberg region, like a lot of regions Australia-wide, does have its social issues.

The State of the Regions report released earlier this year pinpoints the frailties of the Wide Bay region and its low socio-economic status.

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.

The Bundaberg region is incredibly beautiful and as a community we do not see ourselves as disadvantaged.

We have good people. Hard working people. People living and working here who want to create a future for themselves and their families.

The cashless card in the Hinkler electorate is now a reality.

We need to ensure we can maximise the opportunities the Federal Government is telling us this card can produce through social change.

We have projects right across the region that can be funded.

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.

The cashless card is only one part of the strategy required to break the shackles of nationwide unemployment.

For Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson's thoughts, go here

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