Media Release by Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Cashless Debit Card support services for Bundaberg and Hervey Bay

The Morrison Government will deliver $547,000 during 2020 to two organisations providing support services for the Cashless Debit Card in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region in Queensland.

The funding is part of the Government’s $1 million commitment to provide additional support services to Cashless Debit Card trial participants. The remaining $500,000 will be made available in 2021.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston today announced that the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre and IMPACT Community Services have been selected to provide assistance to participants to meet the needs identified during community consultations.

“The Department of Social Services has been working closely with the community for the past 12 months, monitoring the impact of the card on services and has held a series of focus groups in the region to identify where additional support services may be required,” Minister Ruston said.

“This ongoing engagement has identified the need for participants to be able to access case management services to help them access existing services such as financial counselling, parenting programs, education and training.”

The $1 million Cashless Debit Card support funding comes on top of an existing investment of more than $10 million each year in the Hinkler and surrounding region for families and children services, financial counselling and emergency relief grant funding delivered by the Department of Social Services.

In addition, the Morrison Government also provides services for Australians who need support in the region through the departments of Attorney-General’s, Health, and Education, Skills and Employment and the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Community organisation Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre seeks to foster healthy family, individual and community relationships through the provision of various programs including childcare, education, training and case management.

IMPACT Community Services is a not-for-profit organisation in Bundaberg delivering support services to community members experiencing disadvantage, poverty or exclusion from community, social and employment networks.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said each organisation would use the funding to employ two additional full-time case managers to assist Cashless Debit Card holders.

“The Government recognises the importance of providing timely and ongoing support within my community and these two organisations will considerably shorten the time required to respond to the needs of Cashless Debit Card participants,” Mr Pitt said.

“There are lots of services already available in the Hinkler region, so we want to make sure people can access the full suite of services and build on the work that the shop fronts already provide.”