Logan welfare recipients could face random drug tests under new trial

Federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge are expected to announce today that Logan will be the next site of the government’s trial of drug tests for welfare recipients.

The first trial was announced yesterday to be conducted in Canterbury-Bankstown in New South Wales.

From 1 January 2018, the two-year Drug Testing Trial across three locations will test 5,000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance for illicit substances including ice, ecstasy and marijuana.


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“This trial is focused entirely on helping job seekers overcome drug problems and to receive the help they need to get on a path towards securing a job and building a better future for themselves and their families,” said the Minister for Social Services in a statement released on August 22.

“It is not about penalising or stigmatising people who have a barrier to employment which is as serious as drug abuse. We want to help people in this situation. Failure to do so simply leaves people at risk of a cycle of welfare dependency.”

Under the trial, a Newstart and Youth Allowance recipient who tests positive to a drug test will be placed on Income Management for a period of 24 months or the duration of the trial.

Income Management limits the amount of money recipients can withdraw as cash, with the funds quarantined for the purchase of essentials for themselves and their families.  It is intended to make it easier for people affected by drug use to pay for essential items such as rent, childcare, food, school uniforms and other household needs.

It’s understood Logan was chosen for the trial due to the high number of people signing up for welfare and the rapid growth of ice-fueled hospitalisations in the area.

More information on the Drug Testing Trial can be found at the Department of Social Security website here.