Matthew Biggin, 31, of Bundaberg, is among those in the Wide Bay region who will be expected to use a cashless welfare card next year in the place of Centrelink payments.
The Federal Government has chosen the region as the first urban area in the country to get the scheme.
According to government data, 90 per cent of under 30s on unemployment benefits in Wide Bay had a parent who was also on welfare during the past 15 years.
Under the program, 80 per cent of a person’s welfare income will be quarantined on a debit-style card that cannot be used on alcohol, gambling or to withdraw cash.
As a father of three, Mr Biggin said he was worried how cutting access to cash would affect his family.
“It makes me feel really down and out, and like I can’t support my family properly,” he said.
“I’m just really stressed out. I don’t like the idea of them having control of my money.
“We wanted to go on a trip to see my Dad in Victoria, and without cash it will be really hard.”
Mr Biggin says he has a trade but Bundaberg is “really dead” for jobs. (ABC News: Alyson Horn)
Mr Biggin predicted the change could even drive up the crime rate in the city.
“It’s definitely going to increase, because a lot of people are going to try and get cash to buy drugs and other things they don’t need,” he said.
Mr Biggin disputed the Government’s claim the card would be an incentive for people to get work.
“I’ve been trade qualified for a long time now and Bundy’s really dead,” he said.
“There’s no work here at all, and I’ve got my ticket and everything and I just can’t get a job.
“Maybe the people who are on drugs should be tested and they should get the cashless card, not everyone.”
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey welcomed the card but said it would need to be backed up by investments in infrastructure and mental health services, to help reduce unemployment.
“I don’t think it’s a one-stop shop to be able to solve generational issues … and I really applaud the different levels of government getting involved to sort out the scourge of drugs, and alcohol, and mental health,” Mr Dempsey said.
“It needs to be supported by other incentives to turn that huge cycle around.
“A job is one of the most precious things in a world a person can have, it brings dignity”.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said the Wide Bay region had serious social problems the Government needed to address.
He said he hoped the card would be an incentive for people to find work.