Support for drug-test trial

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS -

A for­mer Al­bany res­i­dent con­tacted the Al­bany Ad­ver­tiser to share his story of grow­ing up with a drug-ad­dicted mother and voice his support for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed drug-test­ing pol­icy for wel­fare re­cip­i­ents.

Dur­ing his Bud­get speech, Fed­eral Trea­surer Scott Morrison an­nounced plans to trial drug test­ing for wel­fare re­cip­i­ents in a bid to direct peo­ple into re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and onto a cash­less wel­fare card.

This is an edited ex­tract of the for­mer res­i­dent’s story

My mother lost cus­tody of me when I was very young due to ne­glect. The story went that she’d of­ten be too busy get­ting high with her friends and so I was largely left unat­tended and suf­fered sec­ond de­gree burns to most of my back due to sun ex­po­sure. I also had cig­a­rette butts put out on my nose.

At age seven, I had can­cers re­moved from my back. They were be­nign, yet I still have fre­quent check-ups where I try my hard­est to pre­tend I’m not a tick­ing time­bomb while in the wait­ing room.

My lit­tle brother, from a dif­fer­ent father, made his first crudely at­tempted bong at age five. I was about 15 at this time. I later learned my mother was earn­ing a lit­tle un­der $1000 a week by her­self as a sin­gle par­ent with two chil­dren, while also si­phon­ing off the ma­jor­ity of my Youth Al­lowance, with­out ever hav­ing to pay taxes or re­ally ever lift a fin­ger ex­cept to light up an­other cig­a­rette or sell drugs on the side for some ex­tra cash in­come.

Don’t get me wrong, there was al­ways food on the ta­ble as she qual­i­fied for con­ces­sion rates for most things.

I ran away from home at 16, ob­tained my high school di­ploma by my­self, then stud­ied diplo­mas at TAFE for a few years and en­tered the work­force.

This story isn’t all roses on my part. I never went to work while high — it was al­ways recre­ation­ally dur­ing my own time and even­tu­ally I stopped sell­ing drugs on the side.

Even­tu­ally, I stopped do­ing any drugs, ci­garettes and booze and re­cently bought a va­cant block of land to build my own house on.

I wish they had in­tro­duced drug test­ing for the dole a long time ago.

I feel that my fu­ture av­enues would’ve opened up to me a lot quicker.

I’d have less health prob­lems than I do now and quite pos­si­bly be a lot fur­ther ahead in life than I al­ready am.

My point in all of this is that noth­ing is per­fect and the dole is a safety net, not a way of life, so any­one who abuses it should have their ac­cess to it con­trolled or lim­ited.

Picture: Lau­rie Ben­son

The Cen­tre­link branch in Al­bany.

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