Harassing Newstart recipients not a solution to drug addiction

13 November 2017

The St Vincent de Paul Society has today released a briefing paper that calls into question the Government’s proposal to randomly drug test Newstart recipients in Canterbury-Bankstown, Logan and Mandurah.

The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 which would enable a random drug testing trial of Newstart and Youth Allowance (other) recipients is likely to come before the Senate again next week.

The briefing paper points out that most people on Newstart or Youth Allowance don’t use hard drugs, and that drug testing of people receiving income support is not a successful way of helping people who do suffer from a drug addiction.

“When a government tries to introduce a measure that medical experts say won’t work, you have to wonder about the underlying agenda,” said Dr John Falzon, CEO of the National Council of St Vincent de Paul. “Unfortunately, this government has consistently and repeatedly tried to cut and restrict social security payments. The St Vincent de Paul Society has consistently opposed those cuts. This so-called trial is simply another attempt to restrict social security payments whilst harassing the people who need them.”

“The money spent on this ill-conceived random drug testing trial would be better spent on increasing the funding to drug treatment programs for the many people who can’t currently access them,” he said.

MEDIA CONTACT: Len Baglow 0400 845 492 or media@svdp.org.au