Job seek­ers part of drug trial

MEA­SURE IS TO HELP ABUSERS, NOT PE­NALISE: PORTER

Mandurah Coastal Times - - NEWS -

NEW job seek­ers re­ceiv­ing wel­fare will be drug tested as part of a trial in Man­durah.

The new $10 mil­lion treat­ment fund in Man­durah is to be the third and fi­nal lo­ca­tion to trial drug test­ing of new job seek­ers.

So­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter Christian Porter made the an­nounce­ment with Can­ning MHR An­drew Hastie.

Start­ing next year, the twoyear Drug Test­ing Trial across three lo­ca­tions will test 5000 new re­cip­i­ents of New­start Al­lowance and Youth Al­lowance (other) for il­licit sub­stances in­clud­ing ice (metham­phetamine), ec­stasy (MDMA) and mar­i­juana (THC).

Mr Porter said the trial would ben­e­fit job seek­ers in Man­durah who have drug prob­lems.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Porter said high rates of drug abuse in Man­durah af­fected the whole com­mu­nity.

“While Man­durah has ex­ist­ing drug and al­co­hol ser­vices to sup­port peo­ple in over­com­ing sub­stance is­sues, the Govern­ment is also es­tab­lish­ing a ded­i­cated treat­ment fund of up to $10 mil­lion to sup­port job seek­ers across the three trial sites,” he said.

The trial be­gins in Jan­uary 2018 in three lo­ca­tions across Aus­tralia.

Peo­ple who test pos­i­tive will con­tinue to re­ceive their wel­fare pay­ment but 80 per cent of their pay­ment will only be ac­ces­si­ble through In­come Man­age­ment.

“In­come Man­age­ment has al­ready been used in Man­durah and is a proven and ef­fec­tive tool to help wel­fare re­cip­i­ents man­age their money to en­sure their ba­sic liv­ing needs are met,” Mr Porter said.

MPs Christian Porter and An­drew Hastie.

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