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Strong support for cashless card system, says Pitt

FULL SUPPORT: Faye Wiffin speaks to the media today.
FULL SUPPORT: Faye Wiffin speaks to the media today. Jay Fielding

KEITH Pitt says there is strong support among residents for bringing the cashless welfare card to Bundaberg and he wants those people to come together.

The Member for Hinkler was joined by representatives of community services today when he launched a petition in favour of the scheme, hoping to build community support to bring it to Hinkler.

He said the cards had brought a "significant benefit" to the trial-site communities of Ceduna in SA and East Kimberley in WA.

Employment is Mr Pitt's main priority, given the stubbornly high jobless rate in the region.

"For me, as the local member, my view is very straightforward: if we continue to do the same thing, we'll continue to get the same outcome," Mr Pitt said.

"Change is difficult but it's absolutely - absolutely - worth an attempt."

Mr Pitt said employers continued to tell him that they were happy to employ and train locals but they needed people who were "work ready".

Research from Ceduna showed dramatic reductions in alcohol and drug use, something if replicated here, Mr Pitt said, would make people more able and likely to secure work.

"If you want to be ready go to work this afternoon or tomorrow, then you certainly can't be affected by drugs and alcohol," he said.

Faye Whiffin, the president of the Burrum District Community Centre, wholeheartedly supports the introduction of the cashless welfare card and says it should have been brought in 20 years ago.

Ms Whiffin said it was heartbreaking when children attending youth groups at the centre asked when afternoon tea would be served because they hadn't eaten all day. This is while, she said, their parents were drinking at the pub and playing pokies.

She said introducing the cashless card system in the area would improve people's health among other positive outcomes.

"We could stand here and talk all day about what the benefits would be," she said.

Click here to sign the petition .

A separate petition against the cashless card launched on Tuesday by Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson has now been signed more than 300 times.

Topics:  bundaberg cashless card cashless welfare card centrelink hinkler keith pitt petition welfare



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