Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt. Alistair Brightman

Pitt: Card a move to curb our social woes

MEMBER for Hinkler Keith Pitt knows there are areas in which the region is struggling.

"Depression, gambling and domestic violence are complex issues and there isn't always an easy solution or a one-size fits all approach,” he said.

Mr Pitt said his inspiration behind the Cashless Debit Card - a welfare measure being rolled out for job seekers, parents receiving payments and students under 35 that quarantines 80 per cent of income to an Eftpos card that can't be used on alcohol or gambling - was based on trying to bring much-needed change.

"I fought for more than a year and a half for the Cashless Debit Card to be trialled in the Hinkler electorate to ensure that welfare payments were being spent on the essentials and not alcohol and gambling,” he said.

The card has been staunchly opposed by some, but an independent poll ordered by the NewsMail last year revealed the majority were in favour of the measure.

"It is a tough but necessary policy and I look forward to seeing the results from the trial,” Mr Pitt said.

Mr Pitt encouraged anyone who needed support to reach out to available services in the electorate.

"There are a number of support services available in the region to help people when they need some assistance,” he said.

"Both Bundaberg and Hervey Bay have Headspace centres for young people aged 12 to 25.

"Artius offers stand-alone services and works alongside local providers to deliver a variety of mental health services to the region.

"I recently announced additional funding for the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN which will receive $553,558 per year for the next three years for alcohol and other drug treatment services.”

On the domestic violence front, Mr Pitt said the Federal Government had recently invested millions into tackling the issue.

"...The government committed $328 million for prevention and frontline services through the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children,” he said.

"There is funding for new emergency accommodation with organisations able to apply in the second half of this year and DV-alert funding will be available to health professionals across Australia.”

Headspace can be called on 4152 3931. Contact the Artitus mental health service on 1300 219 658.

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