Bill to introduce trial of drug testing

The government has introduced a bill into the House of Representatives to set up a two-year trial of drug testing for 5000 people receiving new payments of Newstart and youth allowances, starting from 1 July 2018.

Mar 8, 2018

The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Drug Testing Trial) Bill 2018 aims to identify jobseekers with drug abuse issues and to help them recover and get a job. The trial would operate in three locations around the nation, with a fund of up to $10 million to support jobseekers who want to access treatment.

A range of measures would apply as part of the trial, including cancellation of a payment if a jobseeker refuses to take a drug test, with a four-week wait until they can reapply for a payment. In addition, a positive drug test result would result in a jobseeker being placed on income management, meaning their access to cash would be limited, but their payment would not be stopped.

Introducing the bill, the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, said, ‘The government wants to ensure that the welfare system provides strong incentives for people with substance abuse issues to get treatment, rehabilitate and find a job.’

The Senate agreed to remove the proposed trial from the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017, which is currently before the Senate.