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Inquiry into drug testing income support recipients draws more condemnation from experts

Hearings into the Government’s proposed plan to drug test income support recipients have once again demonstrated an overwhelming opposition to the measure, with concerns including stigmatisation and increased crime rates. 

“Witnesses, including service deliverers, drug and alcohol experts and local Mayors and local Government officials have been very clear in their evidence outlining their concerns about drug testing income support recipients”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“There is no evidence to support the Government’s approach and witnesses have outlined their concerns about further harm being caused. 

“Some concerns flagged include increasing already high distress levels, people opting out of income support (leaving them with no financial support), an increasing lack of services and increased crime. 

“This is a punitive approach that should be abandoned. Government should focus on positive approaches recommended by addiction experts, it is well time that we listen to the avalanche of evidence and treat addiction like the health issue that is it. 

“It is time to stop punishing, we know it does not work”.

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