Under the new legislation, Hinkler welfare recipients would be able to volunteer to receive 80 per cent of their payments on the card.
Under the new legislation, Hinkler welfare recipients would be able to volunteer to receive 80 per cent of their payments on the card. FILE

NEW BILL: Cashless Debit Card could expand in Hervey Bay

ALL Hervey Bay welfare recipients could be able to opt-in to the Cashless Debit Card if new legislation is passed in the Federal Parliament.

Under the new legislation, Hinkler welfare recipients would be able to volunteer to receive 80 per cent of their payments on the card, which restricts their ability to spend on alcohol and gambling.

The Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management to Cashless Debit Card Transition) Bill would also extend the trials in the existing sites of Ceduna, the East Kimberley, Goldfields, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay regions to June 30, 2021.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said introducing legislation which would allow voluntary participation was a result of consultation in the trial site.

"During my recent visit to Bundaberg and Hervey Bay I heard a consistent message from the community that the Cashless Debit Card is making a real difference and people want to access the benefits and support the card provides," Ms Ruston said.

"We are committed to using the Cashless Debit Card, in conjunction with a suite of other programs, to break down barriers and help people get a job.

"Welfare is about helping people get back on their feet."

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said the card was equipping people with the financial management tools to make a difference to their lives.

"Feedback from participants within the Hinkler has made it clear that people are having a positive experience on the card and that it is making a difference about where their money is spent," he said.

The bill was introduced in Parliament yesterday.

It will now be debated and needs to pass the House of Representatives first, before going to the Senate.