Welfare Drug Testing
Australia has recently seen a dramatic rise in drug use, especially regarding the use of crystal methamphetamine, or 'ice'.
Many of those who abuse illicit drugs are also on welfare.
In response, the Government announced in its 2017 budget that it is trialling a new system where 5,000 people on Newstart & Youth Allowance will be randomly drug tested in order to receive welfare payments. This system has two elements:
Those who test positive to drugs will have 80% of their cash welfare payment ‘quarantined’ for 2 years onto a BasicsCard, no-cash debit card, that can only be used for essential purchases such as clothes, food and travel;
A second positive test will see the welfare recipient is charged for the cost of the test, and required to see a medical professional for addiction treatment.
The aim of this policy is to help job seekers "receive the help they need to get on a path towards securing a job and building a better future for themselves and their families".
The trial will start on 1 January 2018 in 3 locations where there has been relatively high levels of unemployment and drug use
Will drug testing for
welfare help drug users and
save the government money?
Huffington Post; 'Here's How The Welfare Drug Tests Will Work'
New Scientist; 'Australia plans random drug tests for people receiving welfare'
Huffington Post; 'Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Mean, Unfair And Totally Unnecessary'
Parliament of Australia; 'Does income management work?'' | The Australian Government Department of Human Services; 'Media Release: Canterbury-Bankstown first location for drug testing trial'
Courier Mail; 'Drug-testing new welfare recipients is a good idea'
ABC; Quoted from Liberal MP Andrew Laming in 'Drug testing for welfare recipients slammed as 'cheap, populist nonsense' in Victoria'
Fraser Coast Chronicle; 'How Coalition's plan to drug test dole recipients will work'