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Protesters cash out on card

PROTEST: Cashless Debit Card protesters at the CBD.
PROTEST: Cashless Debit Card protesters at the CBD. Mikayla Haupt

"IT'S a sledge hammer for a thumbtack.”

Community members took to the CBD pavilion with signs and shirts in protest of the Cashless Debit Card after it was confirmed for the Bundaberg region, stating the card was a blanket approach restricting people who don't abuse their allowances because of the minority that do.

One of the organisers of the protest, Peter Feerick, said while there were issues like addiction and unemployment which need to be targeted, the cashless card wouldn't fix them.

"If something needs to happen, it needs to happen, but do it with open consultation, honesty and transparency and that hasn't been done,” Mr Feerick said.

"A targeted approach for people who can't handle their money would be more effective.

"A blanketed approach to a demographic of people under the age of 35 is not right.”

Protester Daniel Stafford said after the news broke he was inundated with messages.

"I received 30 to 40 messages from people going 'is this coming in, is there any way we can stop it, what support services are there?',” he said.

"There's even people contemplating taking their own life, because they don't think they can handle it, there's talk of people moving out of Bundaberg to Gladstone because the rent is cheaper and things like that.

"The way we see it and reason why we are still fighting it even though we've been told we are going to get the card is because once they've got it in one area, it will travel to another area and another area - soon enough we will have a socio-economic class that is completely segregated.”

Mr Stafford said the card will remove holders from society, making them feel like outcasts.

Thirty-year-old Jodie McNally said she was disheartened in light of the cashless card announcement.

"I've never drunk alcohol, never smoked and never gambled, how is it going to do anything for me except make it harder for me to fix my car?” she said.

"I don't have control over a lot of things in my life accept for my money and now that has been taken away from me. I'm stuck - the card doesn't help everyone like they think it will.”



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