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Australian Greens dissent from committee report into Government plans to drug test income support recipients

The Australian Greens have dissented from the Community Affairs Legislation Committee report into the Government’s bill that would drug test Australians seeking access to income support. 

“I share the disappointment and dismay of the experts and community organisations at the reemergence of this plan to drug test Australians accessing our social safety net”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“The measure would see unemployed Australians put on income managementfor two years if they test positive, which will do more harm than good. There is overwhelming evidence from addiction experts that this is a flawed approach.

“It was overwhelmingly rejected for good reason by Senate when it was previously proposed as part of the welfare reform bill. It is astounding they Government has re-introduced the same measure as a standalone bill. 

“For the Government to continue in its pursuit of this flawed policy shows total failure to listen to the advice of those with expertise in this field, and dogged determination to pursue a punitive, ineffective and damaging policy in the face of all the evidence. 

“The bill is the Government’s attempt, in the face of universal opposition from health, mental health and addiction experts and community-based organisations, to bring back the punitive drug testing of income support recipients, the Australian Greensstrongly reject this approach”.

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