Drug Testing Trial

The Government plans to introduce a drug testing trial in three locations across Australia.

Under the trial 5,000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (other) will be tested over the two-year trial period across three locations.

Drug testing will be trialled in Canterbury-Bankstown (NSW), Logan (QLD) and Mandurah (WA).

A $10 million Treatment Fund will be established to provide additional treatment support in these trial locations for job seekers impacted by the trial. The Treatment Fund will provide:

  • $1 million for case management services to help people who return more than one positive drug test result during the trial to access the services and treatment identified in their treatment plan
  • $3 million in funding to boost drug treatment capacity in the three trial sites and respond to any additional treatment demands
  • approximately $6 million in an individual funding pool for accredited treatment support for individuals identified through the trial, in the event state or Commonwealth funded services are not able to be accessed in a timely manner.  

The drug testing trial is part of a range of welfare measures designed to better support people into work and ensure the welfare system continues to provide a safety net for those who need it most. The trial and the Treatment Fund are subject to the passage of legislation.

On 22 March 2018, the Senate referred the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Drug Testing Trial) Bill 2018 to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report. The Committee’s Report recommended the Bill be passed and made two additional recommendations that the Department of Social Services:

  • establish and publish the evaluation strategy of the drug testing trial prior to the commencement of the trial
  • publish the outcomes of the drug testing trial after it has been completed.

The Australian Government Response to this report was tabled in the Senate on 14 August 2018.

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