Protests against the card earlier this year.
Protests against the card earlier this year. Contributed

Thousands left in limbo over Cashless Debit Card

WELFARE recipients will have to wait until the New Year to find out when they will be forced to live on the cashless debit card.

No date has been flagged for the roll-out of the controversial card which will impact about 6,700 in Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

Even those who move out of the region will still receive the card.

A spokesman from the Department of Social Services said yesterday the implementation of the card was subject to legislation and a start date had not yet been confirmed.

He said the Hinkler region was chosen based on consultations with the community "which identified pressing social challenges which may be helped by the card".

"These include high youth unemployment and young families requiring support," he said.

"People will be switched onto the card progressively from the commencement date.

"It could take several weeks for all participants to be switched on."

Those who will receive the card include people aged 35 years and under who receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (job seeker), Parenting Payment (single) and Parenting Payment (partnered).

The spokesman said recipients of other payments could volunteer to be part of the program.

Support for the welfare card received a boost earlier this month when the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee handed down its report recommending that the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017 be passed.

The committee noted wide ranging support for the objective of the Cashless Debit Card to reduce the social harms caused by excessive use of alcohol, drugs and gambling.

"The feedback my office has received shows 75 per cent support for the Cashless Debit Card being introduced," Mr Pitt said.

"The Hinkler community wants the card, as does the service providers who are at the front line of support services.

"The very small minority of people who oppose the card have still not offered up an alternative."
 


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