Jake Dettmann with his Indue cashless welfare card.
Jake Dettmann with his Indue cashless welfare card. Alistair Brightman

CASHLESS CARD: Hundreds trying to opt out of trial

JAKE Dettmann is one of about 5600 Hinkler residents who has been placed on the Cashless Debit Card as part of the Federal Government's trial.

He is also one of about 260 people who have enquired about leaving the scheme, just months after it was rolled out in the region.

The single dad, who lives in Point Vernon, says the card has added nothing but stress to his life, making him late with his rent for the first time since he first took out a lease 10 years ago.

Under the terms of the card, welfare recipients can receive 20 per cent of their payments in cash, but the rest remains on the Indue debit card.

The problems started when Mr Dettmann tried to transfer his rental payment when he first received the card, but it soon bounced back.

Because he is allotted a certain amount for his rental limit each fortnight, he had to contact Indue and make arrangements before he could try to transfer the money again.

Within four weeks of being on the card Mr Dettmann said he had received two breach notices after years of paying his rent on time.

He claims has also had issues paying for his daughter's day care, which was set up via direct debit - but the arrangement won't work now he has the Indue card.

"Payments weren't being taken," he said.

"I've had to rearrange everything in my life because of them."

The 29-year-old hasn't had a steady job for the past two and a half years.

He has worked on and off, being a kitchen hand and doing garden maintenance.

Mr Dettmann said the challenges he had faced since being placed on the Indue card made it harder for him to find work.

"I've been having anxiety attacks," he said.

"It makes me not want to go outside, it makes it hard to even leave the house."

He feels stigmatised by the card, which was introduced to try to prevent money from being spent on alcohol, drugs and gambling products.

"I get looks from people, as soon as you get the card out they look at you and think you're a druggie or an alcoholic."

He has found he can't even take his child to the cinema using the card because Hervey Bay BigScreen Cinemas use PayPass facilities, a function the Indue card doesn't have.

At the start of the month, those on the card were able to make an application to leave the scheme.

Mr Dettmann said he made the call as soon as he could, asking them to put him on a priority list as he was confident he could manage his own finances.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Social Services said participants could apply to exit the program if they could demonstrate reasonable and responsible management of their financial affairs.

"The department will use a stringent set of criteria to assess any applications and will require a range of documents such as rental agreements and bank statements to support an application," she said.