Union makes Whyalla trip

UNITED: Members of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union stopped by Whyalla on their way to Ceduna to speak to locals about the cashless welfare card.
UNITED: Members of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union stopped by Whyalla on their way to Ceduna to speak to locals about the cashless welfare card.

As the debate continues around the benefits of the cashless welfare card, the Australian Unemployed Workers Union SA Branch are heading to Ceduna to talk to those most affected.

On their way, the AUWU stopped in Whyalla to speak to Mayor Lyn Breuer and Member for Giles Eddie Hughes and host a barbecue at Civic Park.

SA Branch Coordinator Hayden Patterson said communities affected by the cashless welfare card were divided based on those on the card and those not.

“People that aren’t on it are quite scared of it. From what I hear a lot of people have moved out of the Ceduna area to escape it,” he said.

“That hasn’t really helped a lot of people, because once you’re in a certain location and you’re associated with it, it follows you.”

Mr Patterson said the card had made a big difference in the lives of people living on the card.

“They’ve been able to do simple things like sending the kids to school with food in their stomach or buying secondhand goods,” he said.

“Most of the people on it feel like they’ve been under-represented every time people come to Ceduna to investigate how the card’s going. That’s why we’re going there, to show a bit of solidarity.”

Currently the AUWU does not support any form of forced income management, with Mr Patterson saying the card is ‘quite discriminatory’.

“It (targets) indigenous Australians and unemployed Australians, which tend to be the people living in vulnerable circumstances with a lower voice,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to thousands of people and I’ve heard lots of opinions about the cashless welfare card, so I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself.”

The AUWU delegation met with Mayor Breuer and Mr Hughes to discuss punitive measures facing people on Centrelink.

“We also wanted to find out what they’ve heard from their local constituents,” Mr Patterson said.