Cashless debit card critic Kathryn Wilkes spent Thursday protesting the scheme at Bundaberg and Hervey Bay to raise awareness before the federal election.
Cashless debit card critic Kathryn Wilkes spent Thursday protesting the scheme at Bundaberg and Hervey Bay to raise awareness before the federal election. Brendan Bowers

Cashless card critics have warning for Hinkler voters

KATHRYN Wilkes has a message for Hinkler voters - be careful who you vote for.

The cashless card critic spent Thursday in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay protesting the scheme.

Ms Wilkes said it was important for those who opposed the trial to make their vote count this election.

"We have a lot of people suffering hardship, homelessness, they're losing their cars, their rent is behind," Ms Wilkes said.

"Indue (the organisation rolling out the card) is taking too long to transfer funds because it's not a bank, they cannot do instant transfers.

"This is why we are saying to people to be very careful how you vote.

"There are four people on the voting cards who are against the card and everyone else is for the card."

Ms Wilkes, pictured, unwittingly became an advocate for those on the cashless card after watching a Senate inquiry into the scheme.

She said a speech by a former mayor of Ceduna, SA, sparked her passion to do more.

"I started watching the Senate inquiry for the cashless debit card and I heard the then mayor for Ceduna rubbishing people who were against the card," she said.

"I thought it was disgusting seeing a mayor, who was supposed to be representing his constituents, running them down and abusing them in a senate inquiry.

"Everybody is doing it tough, working or not, this country is doing it tough."

At the protest was Dr Shelley Bielefeld, an independent research scholar hired to collect information about the cashless debit card.

She said she was one of a group of researchers who conduct in-depth interviews with recipients of the card about the issues they face.

The three-year study is in its first year and Dr Bielefeld said the data showed people on the card were struggling to pay basic bills.

"We are looking at a lot of issues with the card, including the impact the cards have on people's financial autonomy, their capacity to pay their bills independently and whether they can pay them on time with the card," Dr Bielefeld said.

"There are all sorts of issues we've been hearing in our interviews in terms of people setting up rent payments for example, and then having their rent payments bounce back into their account.

"Some people have then been found to be in breach of their contract because of late payment of rent."

Dr Bielefeld is looking for people who are on the cashless debit card to conduct an anonymous interview.

For information, phone 0405 173 584 or email s.bielefeld@griffith.edu.au.