Aussie Government Confirms It's Reviving Trial To Drug Test Welfare Recipients
After a few attempts to get the trial greenlit by the Opposition and crossbenchers, the Australian government will try one more time to get support to drug test welfare recipients.
Scott Morrison's government will put the legislation to parliament next week, according to Channel 7.
The Coalition is hoping it will finally get the support it needs to introduce a two year trial, where 5,000 people on Newstart and Youth Allowance will be check for illicit substance use.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said: "People on welfare who take drugs are denying themselves the best opportunity to take advantage of the jobs we are creating.
"That's why the Morrison government is trialling reforms the welfare system to ensure that we can identify and encourage people with substance abuse issues to get treatment, rehabilitate and make them job-ready."
The trial will be introduced to three areas across Australia: Logan in Queensland, Canterbury-Bankstown in New South Wales and Mandurah in Western Australia.
The people flagged for testing will be checked for ice, ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
The Guardian reports if a welfare recipient does test positive they'll be placed on income management. They'll undergo a second test nearly a month later and if it's positive again, then they'll be sent to a doctor to have a look at treatment options.
It's worth noting that this will only go ahead if it gains enough support from politicians; which seems unlikely.
Labor's Social Services Minister Linda Burney has previously told Triple J's Hack: "Experts are really worried because the evidence shows these kind of policies just don't work - particularly when the services people need to deal with addiction aren't available.
"For this reason, Labor has opposed this counterproductive policy in the past, and nothing has changed."
The Greens have also slammed the proposal, saying it is 'extremely disappointing' to see the policy is still on the table.
However, Ms Ruston added: "This measure is not about punishing people, it is about identifying people who need our help."
The general gist of the matter, in the government's eyes, is that if you're on welfare then you shouldn't be spending the taxpayer's money on drugs. They also said that taking drugs makes it harder for people to find work.
But there is concern from experts about whether the policy would help people who consume drugs.
St Vincent's Health Australia Chief Executive Toby Hall wrote for the ABC, saying: "I share the government's stated intention of helping addicts access treatment while keeping them in touch with employment and training.
"But this is not the way to go about it."
St Vincent's was one of many organisations or groups who made a submission to the government's Senate inquiry into the bill.
Others include the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Public Health Association of Australia, the Kirby Institute, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
Featured Image Credit: PA