Welfare Drug-Test Laws Back In Parliament

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A previous bill stalled in the senate.

Welfare recipients who test positive for drugs will be placed on income management under draft laws to go to federal parliament next week.

A previous bill stalled in the Senate, due to concerns about its unfairness, and lapsed at the end of the last parliament.

If passed, a two-year drug testing trial will be rolled out in three locations - Logan in Queensland, Canterbury-Bankstown in NSW and Mandurah in WA.

About 5000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance will be tested for ice, ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Anyone testing positive will be placed on income management for a period of 24 months or the duration of the trial.

A second drug test will be scheduled within 25 working days of the positive result.

After a second positive test, the job seeker will be referred to a doctor who will assess their circumstances and identify treatment options.

The job seeker may be required to undergo drug treatment as part of their job plan.

A $10 million treatment fund will boost drug treatment services in trial sites.

"People on welfare who take drugs are denying themselves the best opportunity to take advantage of the jobs we are creating," Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said.

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"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."

She said taxpayers expected welfare recipients to spend money on feeding and schooling their children and paying bills, rather than on drugs.

"This measure is not about punishing people, it is about identifying people who need our help."

Research has shown the unemployed are over three times more likely to use amphetamines and one-and-a-half times more likely to use cannabis than the employed.

Source: AAP

Image: Getty / Ca-ssis

Written By Ally Parker

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