The Turnbull Government is determined to introduce a drug testing trial in Mandurah to help residents get the help they need to get off drugs and into work.
Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan and Member for Canning Andrew Hastie today announced details of the additional treatment available through the Turnbull Government’s $10 million treatment fund.
Under the trial, 5,000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (other) will be tested over a two-year trial period across three locations: Mandurah (WA), Logan (Queensland) and Canterbury-Bankstown (NSW).
The additional $10 million in funding will provide:
- $1 million for case management services for people who test positive more than once under the trial
- $3 million to boost drug treatment capacity in the three trial sites, and
- $6 million for additional accredited treatment support, in the event State or Commonwealth-funded services cannot be accessed in a timely manner.
Mr Tehan said the Government had recently re-introduced its drug testing trial legislation into the Parliament and called on Labor and the crossbench to support it.
“The Turnbull Government created more than 1,000 jobs a day last year and we want every Australian to be in a position to take advantage of the employment opportunities available,” Mr Tehan said.
“The best thing we can do is help someone off welfare and into work. The drug testing trial is about helping people to help themselves get a job.
“Doing nothing is no longer an option. Doing nothing is not helping Australians to address a drug problem and get off welfare and into work.”
Mr Hastie said the trial had great potential for Mandurah.
“This trial is a unique opportunity for Mandurah. Newstart and Youth Allowance are designed to help people while they look for work. But if people are struggling with drug abuse, their chances of getting hired and holding a job are much lower,” Mr Hastie said.
“The drug testing will identify those people who need help, and the treatment fund will make sure those people have the resources they need to get drug free and job ready.
“No one will lose their welfare out of this program, no one will be worse off if they do the right thing. But if you refuse to take a drug test, you’ll find yourself in trouble. That’s no different to many jobs. Many Canning workers take regular drug tests for their jobs. Why should it be any different for welfare recipients? This is a very reasonable expectation, especially as many Australians support job seekers on welfare through their taxes.
“Labor’s opposition to this program is purely political.”
The Turnbull Government has engaged more than 170 stakeholders on the drug testing trial at more than 60 forums around Australia, including the three trial sites.
The Government will further engage and consult with local stakeholders in the three trial locations prior to implementation.
The number of income support recipients in Western Australia who tried to claim drug or alcohol use as an excuse for not meeting their mutual obligations increased by 475 per cent over five years, with 1,075 applications submitted in 2017.
- 73% of voters support drug testing welfare recipients (Newspoll, October 26-29, 2017)
- Meth/amphetamine use was 3.1 times higher among unemployed people than employed (AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey)
- 23.6 per cent of the unemployed people surveyed were recent users of illicit drugs