Cashless welfare? 'Not in Bundy, please'
CARS whizzed by, many tooting their support and a few shouting "get a job”, as Bundaberg locals got together to voice their disgust over the Cashless Debit Card.
A peaceful bunch of about 20 protesters gathered outside the office of Hinkler MP Keith Pitt on Woongarra St yesterday and they plan to make it a weekly event.
John Barnes, 42, worked at a local farm for nine years but he has been unemployed and on Newstart since January last year.
He said struggling to find work was stressful enough without having his finances complicated by the card.
"It's about free will. You're supposed to be able to make your own choices,” Mr Barnes said.
"Why is it being made by the local member of parliament as to what we can and can't do?
"Why doesn't he campaign to bring more industry to town and more opportunities?”
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Jen Lawrence said she was disappointed in the lack of information and community consultation about the card.
"I want it reported that Keith Pitt was invited outside to speak with us and he declined,” she said.
Mr Pitt instead offered for two people from the crowd to speak with him inside his office.
"We are fortunate to live in a country where we have the right to express our views through peaceful public protest,” he said yesterday.
"The meeting was very constructive and a number of misconceptions were clarified.”
"While some people are ideologically opposed and will never support it, others are simply misinformed.
"Many people who have contacted my office about the Card are supportive once they have all the facts and understand it won't impact veterans, aged pensioners or people with disabilities.
"As well as conducting surveys, I have met with businesses, welfare groups, teachers and medical professionals. The majority of our community support the introduction of the Cashless Debit Card.”