Cashless card opponents say fight is not over yet
AFTER settling in a private rental property following months of searching, Jodie McNally now fears she may not be able to pay her rent because of the Cashless Debit Card.
The 31-year-old Bundaberg woman, who is on a Newstart disability stream payment, says the card's roll-out will affect her ability to pay her rent and restrict her social interactions due to the cash limit.
The controversial plan passed the Senate in a tight 33-32 vote on Tuesday and will likely be rolled out across Hervey Bay and Bundaberg in November.
It constrains 80 per cent of a person's welfare payment to the card and cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products.
Ms McNally said the situation was exacerbated by her osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and nerve pain, which has confined her to only working between eight and 15 hours per week.
"Because of the restrictions on the card, I'm not able to stay in (pubs) that serve alcohol if I need to travel to Brisbane for specialist appointments,” Ms McNally said.
"Being put on the card will also inconvenience my rental situation, because Centrepay may not be accepted for the place I'm staying.”
"At the end of the day, it's not going to help me.”
The roll-out of the Cashless Debit Card is inevitable, but local opponents say they will not give up their fight.
Kathryn Wilkes, who has been a vocal critic of the card since it was first proposed last year, said her lobby group was considering its next move after the policy was passed on Tuesday.
She dedicated countless hours to protesting and lobbying senators and still questions why the majority of senators voted yes.
"What sort of society do we live in where the government feels it's okay to remove people's rights, legal protections, social status and security?” Ms Wilkes said.
"I feel so sad that the Australian public has been misled... there's no accountability, and the taxpayer will be picking up the bill for everything.
"It's allowing a situation to grow where it's now okay by the government's reckoning to bully people for being on social security.”
Ms Wilkes said one of her main concerns was the government "refusing to listen to people on every level” and insisted the card would create "effectively, a sub-class of citizens not protected by law”.