ROLL ON: Minister for Social Services Affairs Dan Tehan.
ROLL ON: Minister for Social Services Affairs Dan Tehan. MICK TSIKAS

Bundy, Hervey Bay in the waiting room on cashless card

KEY crossbench senators will decide the fate of the Cashless Debit Card rollout for Bundaberg and Hervey Bay later this year.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said the card rollout is on track for early 2018 subject to the passage of the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017.

But that's where things get complicated.

While the Federal Government maintains a slim majority in the House of Representatives thanks to the return of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Bennelong MP John Alexander following their by-election wins last month, the same cannot be said of the Senate.

There, the Coalition will be relying on crossbench support to pass the Bill after Labor and the Greens, who hold a combined 35 seats, ruled out supporting the legislation.

The card quarantines a large chunk (80 per cent) of welfare payments from being spent on alcohol and gambling.

Those who will receive the card include people aged 35 and under who receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (job seeker), Parenting Payment (single) and Parenting Payment (partnered).

Last month, the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee handed down its report recommending the Bill be passed.

Mr Tehan backed the report and the expansion of the card rollout to the Hinkler electorate saying the community wanted action.

"The Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region was chosen as a site for the card because the local community called for action," Mr Tehan said.

"There have been more than 188 consultations held about the card across the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region."

Last month, Hinkler MP Keith Pitt used the report to pressure Labor into supporting the Bill.

He said the joint bipartisan committee noted the extensive consultation in the trials sites, as well as the proposed new site of the Hinkler electorate and that a high level of community support was fundamental to the introduction of the card.


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