ACOSS Statement on drug testing

8 August 2017

ACOSS applauds the decision overnight of the Opposition Labor Party to oppose the Federal Government proposal to introduce drug testing for people needing social security support. The Opposition joins the Australian Greens in opposing this proposal.

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS said:

“The proposal of the Federal Government to introduce mandatory drug testing is plain wrong. Health experts don’t support it, health workers don’t support it, community organisations don’t support it, and it’s because it won’t work and offends basic rights. The evidence is clear. The Federal Government drug testing proposal will make things worse for people in the community who may be dealing with a drug addiction. It would also further stigmatise and demean people who are relying on social security and have a right to receive support when they need it. We thank the Opposition and the Australian Greens for taking this stand.

“We now urge the members of the Crossbench in the Parliament to follow suit, and firmly reject the drug testing proposal.

“ACOSS calls on the Federal Government to abandon this proposal, and work with us on addressing the real issues facing people currently relying on social security: lack of enough income and decently paid work opportunities, and the real issues facing people in the community dealing with a drug addiction: lack of services and supports.

“ACOSS will continue to work with the Federal Government and the Australian Parliament on policies that will work. Mandatory drug testing is not one of them.”