Jake Dettmann with his Indue cashless welfare card.
Jake Dettmann with his Indue cashless welfare card.

Pitt reassures pensioners they won't go on cashless card

MEMBER for Hinkler Keith Pitt has fired back at concerns Bundaberg pensioners could be placed on the cashless debit card.

Local advocate against the cashless card, Peter Feerick, expressed his concerns on an anti-cashless card group, that an age pension payment had been included in recent legislation as a restrictable payment.

"They said that those on the aged pension would never be put on the Cashless Debit Card, well it didn't take long for that to become a lie," Mr Feerick wrote.

"The Cape York and NT sites specifically mention the aged pension as a 'restrictable payment', so it's a pen stroke away from being able to be changed to apply to all the sites if allowed to go ahead," he wrote.

Mr Feerick described the cashless debit card as "whittling away human rights" and said that he "cannot be proud to call myself an Australian if this is what we've come to".

But Mr Pitt said the legislation had changed to support pensioners who wished to volunteer to go on the Cashless Debit Card.

"The inability to volunteer for the card in the Hinkler trial was something that was raised during Minister Ruston's recent visit and the Coalition Government has listened to that feedback and we are acting on it," Mr Pitt said.

He said he hoped this change in legislature would not unnecessarily worry age pensioners.

"Let me be very clear, in the Hinkler electorate only welfare recipients 35 years and under can be placed on the Cashless Debit Card - not age pension recipients," Mr Pitt said.

"Under the legislation introduced last week, age pensioners and welfare recipients will be able to volunteer to go on the cashless debit card.

"In the other three trial sites, age pensioners can volunteer for the Cashless Debit Card."

The card was introduced into the Hinkler electorate in January this year with an estimated 6700 people in the region currently on it.