The Australian Greens are calling on the Senate to reject the harmful and dangerous Government proposal to drug test income support recipients in trial areas because of the overwhelming evidence of the damage it will cause to individuals and our communities.
“The stigma experienced by people with addiction will be further compounded through this trial by subjecting participants to compulsory income management. It will be incredibly damaging and health and addiction experts have consistently opposed this approach”, Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“If we want to help people, we need to be providing wrap around services that assist people in our communities to overcome their barriers not punishing them because they are on income support.
“At the inquiry we heard deep concerns that people who test positive would be getting referred to services that simply don’t exist as rehab is so underfunded in this country.
“An overwhelming number of experts from the health and addiction sectors spoke about the problems with treatment services for people with substance abuse issues. While the government has announced a $10 million treatment fund will be included as part of the drug testing trial, this will not be sufficient to meet unmet demand.
“The latest research shows there is significant unmet demand for drug and alcohol treatment in Australia. There are between 411,740 people and 755,557 people who need drug and alcohol treatment in Australia.
“The fact that the treatment fund cannot be used to address the underlying causes of addiction highlights how the trial fails to see alcohol and drug dependence as a complex health issue.
“Not only does this bill fail to recognise addiction as a complex health issue, the technology required for these trials is both incredibly unreliable and expensive.
“The Senate should reject this bill. “
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180