The Greens candidate contesting Rick Wilson’s seat of O’Connor at the next Federal election has taken a strong stance against the cashless welfare card, vowing to get rid of the initiative in the Goldfields if elected.
Nelson Blake Gilmour, who has experienced homelessness and living pay-to-pay, has blasted the card’s punitive approach.
He said if he were to become the Member for O’Connor he would put an end to the ineffective policy.
Mr Gilmour, who grew up between Denmark and Albany, said he had his eye on issues such as housing, homelessness, service provision and drug reform.
He said his own experience with homelessness and poverty had informed the way he would like to see these issues dealt with.
“We need to move away from the tough-on-crime rhetoric and focus on getting to the root cause of these issues to find a solution that works,” Mr Gilmour said.
“The Cashless Debit Card does not work.
“I can’t stress that enough. Homelessness and poverty is all about not having enough and the answer to that isn’t to take away more.
“People who are homeless aren’t in a position to think about making decisions for society — they are thinking about what they’re going to eat and where they’re going to sleep.
“So the solution isn’t about punitive approaches, it’s about getting people back to that place where they are able to contribute to society.
“Privatisation of welfare just does not work.”
He said looking specifically at Kalgoorlie-Boulder, drug-use, poverty, welfare dependency and access to services were his priorities.
“There is only one doctor in Kalgoorlie who can diagnose autism for the National Disability Insurance Scheme,” he said.
“For a town the size of Kalgoorlie, that’s not enough.”
He said another focus was mining, and how profits from the resources industry could be used to fill those service gaps.
“The reality is that the mining boom could have fully funded all of Australia’s hospitals and schools for a long time,” he said.
“Instead we see a system set up by the Government and Shorten’s Labor that is allowing our rich to get richer and leaving our communities behind.
“It’s high time our politicians represented our communities and not corporate business.
“That’s a choice everyone is going to have to make at the election — where that money should go.”