MANDURAH MLA David Templeman and Financial Counsellors WA executive officer Bev Jowie are concerned that a two-year drug testing trial for which Mandurah one of three locations, could lead to increased crime and homelessness.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter announced in Mandurah on Sunday that new job seekers receiving welfare would be drug tested as part of the new $10 million treatment trial.
From January 1, 5000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (other) will be tested for illicit substances including ice (methamphetamine), ecstasy (MDMA) and marijuana (THC),
But while he said there might be strong support for the measure, Mr Templeman wants to know where the Federal money is for additional health services required to help those directed to drug rehabilitation.,
“Unfortunately, removing welfare payments from people will hit children the hardest, as they are the ones who will be the most vulnerable,’’ he said.
“What we need in Mandurah is jobs and investment in the future but we already know the Federal Government failed to commit $19 million to the Transform Peel initiative which will create hundreds of jobs for the region.”
Mr Templeman said he was particularly peeved that the Federal Government and the local Federal member continued to trash the Mandurah brand, which did nothing to instil confidence a’nd ultimately impacted on the identity of the community.
“This is a magnificent community that does not need any more negative labels, implied by this announcement,’’ he said.
“Its time to stand up for Mandurah and promote the overwhelming number of positive attributes we have rather than focusing on a negative few.”
Ms Jowie believes the trial could make life for the most marginalised even more difficult.
“Welfare recipients who test positive will be placed on income management which limits the amount of cash people can draw,’’ she said.
“Not having income could force people to beg for survival and will only result in more lvitableiving on the street.
“It will be inevitable that people could turn to crime to survive and these unintended consequences have not been factored into any potential savings that may be foreseen in this approach,’’ she said.
Ms Jowie is also concerned the Federal Government does not understand the lack of drug treatment services.
“The services that are available are already understaffed and underfunded and what measures have been put in place to increase capacity?
“We need a proactive, inclusive and community-driven approach to working with people experiencing drug and alcohol addition, one that includes programs, services and assistance in education and training.”