NOT THE WAY: "You don't build people up by putting them down,” says St Vincent de Paul Society national council CEO John Falzon. News

IT WON'T WORK: Vinnies CEO slams Cashless Debit Card

AN AUTHORITY in one of Australia's most prominent charities has slammed the proposal for a Cashless Debit Card in Hinkler, saying a more constructive solution would be to increase welfare payments and investment in regional areas.

St Vincent de Paul Society National Council CEO John Falzon labelled the welfare management scheme "disempowering and humiliating" and said Bundaberg people would only suffer under it.

Mr Falzon said the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council had consistently opposed the Cashless Debit Card because it "simply does not work in the way that the government says it will".

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council said there was no evidence of discernible improvements in employment outcomes under the card and the scheme was "poorly targeted and not cost-effective".

"You don't build people up by putting them down," Mr Falzon said.

"The Cashless Debit Card is disempowering and humiliating.

"The problem the government needs to address is income adequacy, not income management.

"Treating people as if they cannot be trusted is not the way to help people get into jobs."

The card is part of a welfare management scheme that would have 80 per cent of some welfare recipients' payments quarantined to a debit card that cannot be used for alcohol or gambling.

It is being considered by the senate which has previously blocked its introduction in Hinkler.

Mr Falzon said many Bundaberg people would be disadvantaged under the card because those without drug or alcohol problems would be unfairly stigmatised by having to use it.

He also said evidence showed income management schemes "in fact diminish financial management skills".

"Rather than implementing this unnecessary, costly and stigmatising measure, the Federal Government should be improving measures to support youth employment and boosting investment in the regions," he said.

"The low rates of Youth Allowance and Newstart are now acting as a major impediment to people actually looking for work.

"Raising these rates should be the priority, not demonising people who are unemployed."

Earlier this year, former Prime Minister John Howard called for a discussion on ending the 24-year freeze on Newstart payments.

"I was in favour of freezing that when it happened, but I think the freeze has probably gone on too long," Mr Howard said in May.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt, who has championed the roll-out of the Cashless Debit Card in Hinkler, disagreed with Mr Falzon's claims, saying they did not match the local outlook.

"The consultations on the Cashless Debit Card were held with local representatives from multiple front line service providers in the Hinkler electorate," he said.

"These are people who have lived in the region for many years, they are part of the community, and they see the challenges we hope the Cashless Debit Card will help address, on a daily basis.

"It was feedback obtained during the consultations conducted by then Minister (Alan) Tudge and the Department of Social Services from locals that shaped the cohort that card will apply to in Hinkler."

An independent survey by Reachtel on behalf of the NewsMail found most Hinkler residents supported the roll-out of the cashless card, despite vocal opposition from several groups in the region.