NEWS

Mandurah Named As Third Site For Welfare Drug Test Trial

The government will trial the system in Western Australia.

27/08/2017 9:24 AM AEST | Updated 27/08/2017 9:24 AM AEST

Mandurah in Western Australia will be the third site for the Turnbull Government's controversial drug testing trial for welfare recipients.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said Mandurah, like those sites already announced in western Sydney and Logan, Queensland, was the right place to test the new social security system.

"Mandurah, like the other two sites, has a high incidence of drug use. It also has quite a lot of drug and alcohol services already in existence," he said.

"Thirdly, it has a form of cashless income management in place as well. So that means we can leverage that existing infrastructure. So we'll get these going early next year, and we hope we'll have that impact of helping people to get off drugs and back into the workforce.

Under the two-year trial, up to 5000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance will be drug tested, which us already underway in Sydney's Bankstown.

The changes to social security payments mean those who return a positive test will have 80 per cent of their benefit payment quarantined onto a Basics Card. The card limits the amount of money people can withdraw as cash due to concerns it will be spent on illicit substances.

In addition to Bankstown, the targeting of Logan in Queensland is due to the high level of welfare sign-up in the area and increasing use of ice and ice-related hospitalisations.

The Mayor of Logan City, Luke Smith, has previously complained bitterly he was not consulted, but the Prime Minister said it was a federal program, so it was not something to involve the local council.

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