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Drug testing in Canterbury-Bankstown will demonise and isolate people struggling with addiction

Drug testing members of the community in Canterbury-Bankstown who are trying to access income support demonises and isolates the people they target and could further entrench poverty, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Drug testing people trying to access income support recipients is designed more to appeal to the Turnbull Government’s conservative base than actually address the issue of drug addiction.

“Overseas experience shows that it is a very costly and ineffective measure that does not reduce addiction.

“Consistent advice from drug and alcohol experts have rejected the approach. This is just  a way of saying ‘we are being tough on drugs’ but with no real substance.

“The Minister has said he is optimistic that the Senate will support the measure, but I urge crossbenchers, including the Nick Xenophon Team, to consider the evidence that is available from overseas experience and particularly to look at what the drug and alcohol experts are saying.

“This is a flawed measure that will further vilify people who need our support. Drug addiction needs to be treated as a health issue in Canterbury-Bankstown area and across Australia, we need to move past this so called tough on drugs approach.

“The Australian Greens will not be supporting the legislation when it comes through the Senate”.

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