Fund more re­hab ser­vices be­fore in­tro­duc­ing the card

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - NEWS - JOR­DAN PHILP ED­I­TOR jor­dan.philp@fraser­coastchron­i­cle.com.au

num­bers don’t lie - a clear ma­jor­ity of Hin­kler res­i­dents want to see the pro­posed cash­less debit card for cer­tain wel­fare re­cip­i­ents in­tro­duced in their elec­torate.

Hin­kler MP Keith Pitt has of­ten touted 75 per cent of the re­gion sup­ported the con­tro­ver­sial ini­tia­tive which will target peo­ple aged 35 and un­der on un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits and those on par­ent­ing pay­ments.

Our poll of 637 peo­ple in­di­cated the sup­port wasn’t as strong as the Fed­eral politi­cian ini­tially in­di­cated, but still was in favour by a ma­jor­ity.

About 6700 wel­fare re­cipTHE ients across the re­gion would be el­i­gi­ble for the com­pul­sory card which would pre­vent 80 per cent of their pay­ments from be­ing spent on al­co­hol, drugs, cig­a­rettes or gam­bling.

Mr Pitt has pre­vi­ously stated the card would help ad­dress key so­cial prob­lems in­clud­ing high youth un­em­ploy­ment and the high use of al­co­hol, drugs and gam­bling by young par­ents.

A measly $1 mil­lion was com­mit­ted by Mr Pitt to­wards our re­gion’s al­ready over­run and strug­gling men­tal health, drug and al­co­hol ser­vices to co­in­cide with the pro­posed in­tro­duc­tion of the card. Be­fore I can per­son­ally back the card like the ma­jor­ity of our re­gion, I would need to see the LNP govern­ment ad­dress the un­der­ly­ing prob­lems of ad­dic­tion with sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing.

You can’t freeze the spend­ing on drugs, al­co­hol and cig­a­rettes with­out of­fer­ing real solutions to elim­i­nate the prob­lems that led to peo­ple turn­ing to those sub­stances.

We need to see Mr Pitt pledge many more mil­lions into drug and al­co­hol re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices long be­fore in­tro­duc­ing the card.

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